Sunday, November 10, 2013

Notable Guest-Stars: Alan Hewitt

I forgot to mention, Amazon sent an interesting email the other day. Some people have been complaining about the lack of the Perry post-series movies’ availability on DVD. Well, apparently there will be a set of the first six!

Unfortunately, the price is currently astronomical. I’m sure it will come down eventually, as we get closer to the release date, but right now it’s close to $50. Eeek. Hopefully it won’t stay ridiculously expensive, like part 2 of season 8 did for so very long.

Also, we are getting more than one of the films on MeTV this month. The Heartbroken Bride will air on the 22nd. Perhaps one more will flesh out the month on Black Friday, but that day’s schedule isn’t posted yet.

And now, for our Sunday night edition of My Favorite Perry Guest-Stars…. (Seriously, it’s not purely intentional, but for the third Sunday in a row, that’s the topic I have.)

Tonight I’m thinking of Alan Hewitt, a seasoned Broadway performer who moved to movies and television later on and has been a favorite of mine for years from his work in such hilarious Disney films as The Absent-Minded Professor, The Barefoot Executive, and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.

I had to do a bit of digging to find some biographical information on him. This is the obituary that ran in the New York Times: That’s interesting that he attended Dartmouth College; there’s another Perry connection right there, since William Talman attended Dartmouth for a while. And wow, that’s awesome on the one hand that his mother was alive for all of his 71 years of life, but so sad that she had to witness his death.

On Perry, Alan appeared four times, three times as the killers. One of them, however, is one of those more sympathetic fellows who didn’t mean to do it and then was too frightened to come forward.

His first appearance is the only time he wasn’t the killer—the best friend of the defendant in season 3’s The Golden Fraud. He’s an awesome character, appalled by his wife’s insistence on doing anything possible to help him get the company vice-presidency, even if it will hurt his friend. He refuses to have any part in his wife trying to get evidence to make his friend look guilty in having an affair with and even murdering the episode’s victim. There are so many unfaithful friends among the show’s guest-stars that he is a breath of fresh air.

Then there is the murderer in season 4’s The Wintry Wife. As he says, he was only one of several people who wanted the titular character dead, but he was the only one with guts enough to do it. It was a very premeditated crime, involving the manipulation of the house’s heater via remote control.

The character in season 5’s The Brazen Bequest is once again the best friend of the defendant. This poor man was outraged at what the victim was doing to his friend and others (and to him as well) and went to have it out with the guy. But killing him was an accident. In court Perry manages to break him down into finally admitting the truth, and he berates his utter cowardice in allowing his best friend to suffer for something he did.

I always wonder what will happen to characters like that. It was an accident, and in this case may have even been self-defense (I need to watch it again to refresh my memory), but he withheld that crucial information. In a situation like this, the holding back seems the worse crime over the actual death.

And the other character is from season 8’s The Fatal Fetish. I was kind of sad to learn that Curt Ordway had been blackmailing Brady Duncan for years, especially since he put on that act of being a friend. It seems he must have really been a friend at one time and then got soured by jealousy and envy after Brady was made the company president instead of him. Then he kept up the act of still being a real friend and Brady went along with it so no one would know the truth (and hence, learn the reason for the blackmail).

His confession to the murder in court is so chilling, said while making the gesture of bringing down the dagger into Carina’s body. “I knew what I had to do and I did it!” Certainly a character far removed from his amusing Disney jaunts, or even from his other Perry characters.

I was delighted when I started seeing Alan turn up on Perry and other shows, since I had previously thought he was only in movies. Apparently he also had a recurring role on My Favorite Martian as a police detective. I bet that’s hilarious. He’s a great actor to put in comedies, one of those serious types trying to make sense of all the nonsense going on around him. And he is excellent in dramas as well, as evidenced by his Perry ventures. I look forward to enjoying more of his work in the future.

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