Thursday, November 14, 2013

Perry actors on Ironside, and The Bouncing Boomerang

For those interested, remember that MeTV will show the Perry movie The Glass Coffin tomorrow night!

So I’m torn between complaining about how little screentime Richard had in the Ironside episode Monday and squealing with glee over what they did with the character in such a short amount of screentime. I was worried that he was going to be crooked, as Sergeant Brown’s friend seemed to think he was. But he refused to have anything to do with the crooked goings-on in the episode, as soon as he figured out what was going on.

I’ve noticed a really strange trend, though. Any time a guest-star from the main cast of Perry shows up on Ironside, they never seem to have a great deal of screentime. I would’ve thought that they would be the main guest-stars carrying the episode at least sometimes. Certainly I thought that would have been the case with Barbara Hale, and with Richard, too. There’s still two or three Richard episodes I have yet to see, but at this point I’ll be really surprised if he’s ever really one of the main guest-stars who is prominent throughout the episode. He has only appeared in three or even only two (sometimes quite short) scenes in all the ones I’ve seen him in. And in Wesley Lau’s appearance, which I found and saw quite some time ago, his role is extremely small and he hardly has any lines. Wesley is such an incredible actor that this is a terrible waste. Of course, the same goes for Barbara and Richard.

I’m certainly happy to see them pop up in any capacity, but I think they’re all being greatly underused. An episode featuring one or more of them in one of the main guest-starring roles would be just absolutely amazing. They could have done so much more with Barbara Hale than they did. And they could have had an episode with Richard as the guest-star in need of help. Or at least, certainly the characters I’ve seen him play could have been worked into the scripts more often. And Wesley could have had a larger part.

(Also, I hear that the new Ironside has already been cancelled. I feel bad for the cast and crew, who invested themselves in it, but I have to admit I rejoiced a bit to hear the news. That thing sounds like it was a complete abomination.)

Since there’s still a handful of out-of-town Perry episodes I haven’t seen, I randomly decided to watch one of them this morning. The Bouncing Boomerang was on MeTV the other morning, but I didn’t catch it, so I chose my uncut copy on the season 7 set. And . . . wow. That is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen. While I think The Betrayed Bride and The Hasty Honeymooner still hold the titles for weirdest Perry episodes, this one is certainly gaining on them.

So basically this couple lives on a beautiful ranch spread in the middle of nowhere and the wife isn’t happy and wants to leave. But she also wants a bunch of money and doesn’t think the offer on the place is enough. So she conspires with two other people to defraud the insurance company by getting one of the people to make a much higher offer that goes through and then fake his death, so that his insurance policy in the same high amount will get paid. Only she and the other conspirator decide to really kill the third member. Gah.

The poor guy; he’s a conman and all, but he doesn’t want anything to do with murder. He thinks they’re bringing in the body of someone already dead (by natural causes) to fill in for him, and that the body will be burned beyond recognition, the only identification being the spare bridge for his teeth. Then he thinks they’re going to kill the person and doesn’t realize it’s going to be him.

Originally I figured his death was going to be the customary murder and that Eula, the wife wanting off the ranch, would somehow be guiltless of the crime, even though it certainly looked like she was fully mixed up in it. Instead, yes, she and the third guy really killed the conman and then Eula herself ends up dead. The husband is thought to be the third member of the conspiracy and is arrested.

Eventually it ends up that the third member is the insurance agent investigating the conman’s death, and Eula’s death was an accident during an argument when she was getting so freaked out over all the crimes she was taking part in. But before we get to that revelation, we discover that the conman accepted the identity of a missing man and that there’s three teeth bridges and three dentists.

Everyone confused yet?

What a convoluted case!

Eula is certainly a teeth-grating villainess. Her poor husband is willing to cut her some slack and put most of the blame on the insurance investigator, but he’s much too kind. Eula may have grown increasingly nervous over her part in things, but she seemed to only be worried about being caught. I didn’t see any signs of guilt over anything she did, including help commit murder. Ugh.

I wonder if there are any other off-the-wall Perry episodes like that. The other out-of-town season 7 episode I haven’t seen, The Drifting Dropout, sounds a little more normal. I guess season 8’s The Grinning Gorilla is pretty weird too, really, but I had a lot of fun with that one. I wrote a fairly enthusiastic review on it sometime back.

I find it curious too that both The Bouncing Boomerang and The Hasty Honeymooner involve ranches. There’s some perfectly good episodes with ranches, but it isn’t really a common setting, so it’s amusing that two episodes with such a setting are so odd.

I don’t recognize the scriptwriter’s name, either. Arthur E. Orloff? Hmm, according to, he wrote one other Perry script, The Greek Goddess. Which is also a little weird, honestly, but nothing like this one! I will usually watch The Greek Goddess and I enjoy it when I do, although I still feel sad for the sculptor and how things worked out for him. But I don’t think The Bouncing Boomerang is an episode I will ever really enjoy, and certainly the fact of it being an out-of-town episode has very little to nothing to do with that.

About the only thing I got a kick out of was seeing Alan Hale as the conman. I had thought his only Perry episode was season 5’s The Unwelcome Bride. But his poor Perry characters certainly have bad luck. First he’s the murderer. This time he’s the victim!

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