Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Uncut Hasty Honeymooner

So sorry I missed the weekday post. Thursday was a busy day in general, and I’m also rather frantically juggling my entries for the October Writing challenge this year, including the big Perry story. The big story can be posted to October Writing at any time during the last ten days of October, and I’m still sort of desperately hoping that I will have it ready for posting starting Monday. But that is highly unlikely. Even though I know where it’s going, and have the remaining scenes basically planned, there’s still quite a lot to be written. My other entries keep popping up with new ideas as well, and then I can’t focus on the Perry story until I write them. The other stories can be much, much shorter, but they keep getting extremely long anyway!

Then I’ve spent this week trying desperately to think of something to write in tribute for Dan Tobin’s birthday today. I don’t know anything more about the actor than what I’ve already posted, so I knew it would have to be about the character. That also poses a problem, since Clay is usually in the background and only comes around to make commentary in a scene or two per episode. But, since I knew of one episode where he plays a much more active role, I decided to watch the uncut version of it and try to find something new to comment on.

Unfortunately, it’s been so long since I’ve seen even the cut version of The Hasty Honeymooner, I’m not sure what wasn’t there before. I am fairly sure, however, that the scene where Luke Tolliver admires Hutch’s felt sign creations is not in the cut version. That is certainly amusing and unique. It isn’t often that Bible verses are depicted in the series, and I think this is the only time someone makes creations using them. Something about it reminded me of some of the few times Bible verses wandered into Nancy Drew books, although I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe simply because the characters involved are always quirky in some way.

That is still one of the strangest episodes I’ve ever seen in the whole series. But I like Noah Beery, so I just settled back and enjoyed the ride. (And, since one of my favorite oneshot episode characters from The Wild Wild West is also named Tolliver, I got the giggles over his last name.)

It seems like every television series in the 1960s had to eventually get around to commenting on the blossoming trend of computer dating. I’ve seen episodes on the topic from shows such as Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., My Three Sons, The Wild Wild West (yes), and many others I’ll probably think of after I make this post. It’s amusing when it crops up, although also tiring, since all the various series wanted to get their two cents in on it. I was definitely amused by the audience getting a giggle over the co-owner of the Happy Future agency in The Hasty Honeymooner saying how horrifying it was that the two people’s cards were incompatible.

As for Clay’s role throughout the thing, we learn the bit of background information that he and Luke served in WWII together and Luke was a smooth operator, making captured Japanese flags and keeping him and Clay eating well, the little rascal. That’s when Perry first starts to realize that there is more to Luke than meets the eye.

The episode comes the closest the series ever came to giving Clay a real piece of the spotlight. At the wedding party, Clay is the only main character present to carry the scene with the guest-stars. He interacts with them, enjoys watching the dancing, and is available to witness Luke’s wife Millicent taking the fatal drink. He catches her as she faints and watches the ambulance workers trying to help her after they arrive. He is the first to vocally realize that Millicent is dying.

Clay cares about his old soldier friend and wants to do all he can to help clear his name. During the hearing, Clay is the first witness examined onscreen. It’s fun to watch his expressions. He’s so relieved and happy and pleased when Perry manages to score the first points in Luke’s defense.

Clay is present throughout the hearing, sitting with Paul in the gallery, and appears in the epilogue when all is well. He wanders off to tend to the restaurant, however. I would have liked for him to stick around for the remainder of the scene.

For all of his added screentime in this episode, we don’t really learn a great deal more about him. He doesn’t seem to be joining in the dancing, although he enjoys observing it. He’s very loyal to his friend. And the background information from the war is interesting and amusing. Apparently Clay didn’t have much of a problem with Luke’s less-than-honest antics by making the flags. But maybe in that situation it seemed perfectly natural and alright, since they wanted to eat well. Perhaps Clay always had a weakness for good food!

I wonder what would have happened with the character had the series been renewed. I would like to think that he would have had some more chances to emerge from the background, instead of always remaining there like Sergeant Brice does. But the existing material is a lot of fun, and this episode is good for a tribute on Dan Tobin’s birthday. When it comes to Clay’s very unique views on life, however, none of those colorful commentaries are to be found here.

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