Saturday, January 10, 2015

Extra! Extra! Read all about Mr. Mason! (Or Mr. Burger!)

So I’m writing a non-Perry story based on the adventure quest genre and decided to have some of the clichés, including a heavyset bad guy in white. I opted to base the character on Perry alumnus Dan Seymour. I’ve already written a story with a Victor Buono-inspired bad guy, and Dan Seymour seemed the next most logical choice.

The Ancient Romeo is not a favorite episode of mine and never has been. When I saw it was on MeTV tonight, I decided to see what was on the local station instead. I see that episode so seldom I didn’t recognize its opening scene at first, but I recognized Dan Seymour’s voice before he actually walked onscreen. I’m rather pleased about that.

The episode was The Silent Partner, which probably gave Dan Seymour his meatiest screentime on Perry. Even though I’ve come to prefer its remake, The Candy Queen, I like the earlier episode and decided to watch it instead of MeTV’s offering. I am, however, wondering why the local station was showing season 1 when they were in the middle of season 4! I hope they haven’t decided to only air episodes through most of season 4 now. It was bad enough when they cut out most of 7, all of 8, and half of 9!

It’s always a little odd to go back to season 1 episodes after watching later episodes. I will probably always prefer the later episodes, as sacrilegious as that likely sounds to some fans, but there’s no denying that the early episodes featured very twisty, noir-ish plots.

They also feature a Perry who doesn’t always put the interests of worried clients first. Okay, so even a bit later there are times when he really doesn’t want to take a case, but season 1 seems to bring us the majority of the times when he has a client and doesn’t always jump to their aid or even wholly believe them. He’s a much more cynical Perry. Here, he wants to work on a brief instead of immediately going to Mrs. Kimber’s aid, suggesting she come tomorrow as opposed to that night. It’s understandable that he would be worried about the brief, but it’s just interesting to note that he doesn’t drop everything to see about Mrs. Kimber that night. Della, however, thinks that he should do exactly that.

But this post isn’t going to be one that examines the differences between Perrys. The main thing I was thinking about this time around was how the press features into the episode and how often they’re around in the series at all. I was also thinking about Hamilton’s approach to the press and how that seems to change over time.

There really aren’t very many occasions when the main characters are shown being hounded by reporters. This episode gives us a glimpse into what has been happening on that front, with the reporters hanging on the friction between Perry and Hamilton and rushing off to make their stories when Perry says “No comment” in response to being asked if he really, deliberately told his client to fire a second bullet from the gun to make a paraffin test inconclusive.

Perry and Hamilton are on very bad terms here, with each calling the other by his last name and not even affording the courtesy of a “Mr.” for the sake of the press if nothing else. Hamilton is stressed and angry, believing that Perry has broken the law, and he treats the reporters in a very clipped manner. Perry is cold to Hamilton but gracious to the reporters; in spite of the “No comment” remark, he delivers it in a calm and collected tone.

Contrast this season 1 incident with a scene from season 9, where Hamilton is cornered by reporters in The Carefree Coronary. (Oddly enough, Dan Seymour is in this episode too.) Now Hamilton is calm, cool, and collected, handling the questions with grace and ease and telling the reporters that he isn’t going to make any case against Perry until he sees what the outcome of the inquest is.

Hamilton is definitely more of an ally by the final season. And he has also matured in other ways, including not losing his temper as often. (When he does, though, it’s a beaut, like in The Fatal Fortune.) Perhaps he would have handled the reporters smoother even in season 1 if he hadn’t been so stressed at the moment; we see him in the season 1 episode The Terrified Typist, rather pleased and triumphant as he talks to a reporter after court (albeit we don’t hear what he’s saying). But it’s an interesting contrast between season 1 and season 9 anyway.

Also of interest to note is that while in The Silent Partner and other early episodes, Perry goes to the police for help (i.e., Lieutenant Tragg), in later episodes such as The Carefree Coronary he’s more likely to appeal to Hamilton (despite Steve being the most genuinely friendly of the three policemen). Ah, how times change through the seasons. I just love their always-developing friendship.

(And yet another interesting contrast, as others have noted, is Hamilton’s reaction to getting an onscreen win. While in The Terrified Typist he’s clearly pleased with himself for getting a conviction, in season 7’s The Deadly Verdict he is very sobered. Even though in both cases he believes the defendant is guilty, he has always recognized that it’s still a somber thing for someone to be sentenced to death, and in The Deadly Verdict, this feeling is more visibly prominent than in the earlier episode.)

EDIT: I just remembered that Perry is cornered by reporters in The Grinning Gorilla, when they mob him to ask about him taking on the case. At that point, he had not agreed to take the case and it was very awkward for him. It's been so long since I saw the episode that I no longer recall how he handled the situation. I vaguely remember that he was so taken by surprise that he didn't know what to say at first. I think in frustration he then tried to say he had not taken the case, but never finished that statement.

I actually can’t think of any other times where we both see and hear Hamilton or the other main characters talking to reporters about themselves. Perry has to fend off reporters bothering his clients sometimes, such as in The Wrathful Wraith, and there’s a couple of times when Perry or Hamilton appears in newspaper stories, including Hamilton’s win in The Deadly Verdict, but as far as actual interaction between the main characters and reporters where reporters want to write about them, it’s quite rare. (So are those other news-related incidents, actually.)

Still, even though we are only allowed glimpses into what happens when the press pounces on our main characters, they are fascinating little glimpses. In early seasons I imagine reporters in L.A. make it big describing all the latest clashes between Perry and Hamilton, while reporters of the later seasons are stunned and amazed by all the times the two actually work in harmony together. And judging by the tongue-in-cheek example of the “District Attorney Victorious” headline in The Deadly Verdict, I wonder if the reporters make a big deal out of any time Hamilton actually wins a case.

I subscribe to the idea that he won more than we saw onscreen, and that there were actually more times that he won onscreen than what is generally noted by viewers (such as all the times a case went to jury trial instead of remaining a preliminary hearing), so I’ll admit I do hope that the reporters don’t make like a win by Hamilton is a rare event.

That said, the headline in The Deadly Verdict is amusing. A nice smidgen of humor in one of the darkest (and best) episodes of the series.


  1. Yea it is interesting to see how the characters grew and changed throughout the series. Only episode I wouldn't re watch those is TCOT Grinning Gorilla. Perry and Della were way out of character in it.

    1. It's interesting how many people say that. I'm still trying to figure out what's wrong with it. Perry was sometimes grouchy in other episodes, and I don't blame him for being frustrated in that one.

  2. It was the dialogue imo. It made Perry seem like a first rate a-hole (pardon my french). He treated Della like crap and she was acting like an air head (which is anything like she usually is). It just seemed way out of character.

    Grouchy is one thing, but being what I mentioned above is another imo. I don't blame the frustration either, but he didn't give Della credit for handing him the case in the first place. He rejected it at first. Busyness aside, he was being a real JERK.

    Gardner wrote that one and tbh it made me wonder why he had it written the way he did. It didn't seem like the characters that we've come to know and love. The only real scene where it did was at the end of the episode.

    Just found it via Youtube, so I might try to watch it again before anything happens.

    1. I should watch it again myself to see if my opinion might change towards the negative. I remember Della being excited about her finds, but I don't recall airheaded behavior. And I remember Perry not being interested in the case and then being mobbed by people asking him about him taking it, which was very awkward for him.... Oh, oops, dang it, that was another instance where a main character was cornered by reporters. I'll have to edit the post.

      I know Gardner wrote the book, but I didn't think he'd written the episode version. He had decided he wasn't comfortable writing scripts all the way back when the radio show was on.

  3. Yea it did seem like excitement at first, but it seemed rather off to me for some reason. I remember that too.

    I didn't think so either. Double checked and it mentioned him for story... maybe he wasn't but the writing just seemed bad to me. I kind of wondered why it was so bad.

    Glad that it didn't remain that way episode wise though.

    Also, you might want to check out Youtube, all of the movies are on there right now. Found them while looking for tcot Grinning Gorilla. Threw me for a loop.

    1. Hmm.

      Is that on IMDB? I figured they just meant since he'd written the book on which the episode was based.

      Some episodes have things that are really off, unfortunately. All shows probably have some episodes like that. But it does make one wonder. I still puzzle over the bad writing in some of the episodes I can't stand, like The 12th Wildcat.

      Thanks. :) I had thought the movies had been there for some time. I'll probably have a look if there's any that particularly stand out to me. I remember there were at least some scenes in some I wanted to see.

  4. Yea. That's what I thought too once I checked again.

    Definitely. Mainly just in regards to some of the acting and sometimes in regards to the time. Some are just strangely dated XD.

    You're welcome :). Some of them had. But the ones I found were recent ones added on. It was a pleasant surprise. Also there are quite a few episodes up too. So I'll be trying to catch up when I'm able.

    Saved a few of them to watch later movie wise since Amazon hasn't released the 5th entry in the movie sets yet. Wanted to see some of them really bad. Saw part of TCOT Reckless Romeo last night where Perry gives Della a birthday gift. It was way more romantic with the dialogue. I literally melted into a 'puddle' of goo while watching it, so to speak. It was beautiful :).

    Also found TCOT Killer Kiss and TCOT Tell Tale Talk Show Host.

    It's been fun finding as many as possible. I'll have plenty to watch on there for as long as it's there.

    What ones are you hoping to see?

    1. LOL. I don't have too much of a problem with dated episodes, just bad writing that seems OOC. Some of my favorite episodes were a bit dated, like The Renegade Refugee.

      Oh cool!

      I think one scene I was thinking of is the one you just described from The Reckless Romeo. I still have Killer Kiss recorded off of MeTV and need to watch that. And I was curious about The Tell-Tale Talk Show Host after what you'd said about it in the past. I think mainly, unless I know of something or someone specific within the movie I'm interested in, I wouldn't know which ones to pick above others.

  5. Yea that gets on my nerves regardless of tv show. But some of the actors can tend to over act at times O_o. That can take me out of the episode.

    Yep. Can't watch much now though. Youtube slowed my connection. I hate when that happens. -_-

    Yep. Cool. Killer Kiss seems to be pretty good. Ah.

    1. LOL. I haven't noticed that problem too much on Perry, but it can be distracting when it happens. Unless it's supposed to be that way, like on the ultra-silly 1960's Batman show, which I love.

      Bah. How annoying!

      That's good. :)

  6. Yea same. And those episodes I try to skip.

    Yea and then I ran into a internet connection drop right after searching on Google O_o. So now onto calling the ISP again. I think it's something wrong with the new router. That's what they get for recycling them. Been having connection issues with it since day one (which was pretty recent).

    Thought it was over with, but when I tried to reconnect it gave me the same error. Luckily it connected, but I think that I'll probably have to send it in as well.


    1. Ugh, how annoying! Recycling routers does sound like a very stupid thing to do. I've never had good luck with refurbished technology.

  7. Yea. I just had everything (meaning computers and game systems) connected to it. Definitely. Neither have I. I'll be trying to get a new one from them, but I'm not counting on it, since they save them for 'new customers' which is bull imo. If there's something seriously wrong with a router, you should be able to exchange it for a new one, not another refurb.