So. I wasn’t expecting to discover another recurring character. Mr. Snell, Robert Colbert’s district attorney character in The Grinning Gorilla, also appears in The Hasty Honeymooner.
Of course, the end result of that is that Snell really doesn’t come off looking too competent, since he’s the one Perry lobs many legitimate complaints about prejudicial conduct about. And it’s hard to really think of the man otherwise, since this is our only glimpse of him in a courtroom setting. At least poor Hamilton, whose courtroom conduct is very badly written and almost a mirror of Mr. Snell’s in the following episode, The 12th Wildcat, has many opportunities to show that he is competent and that the writing in The 12th Wildcat is really a fluke.
When I previously remembered Mr. Snell only from The Grinning Gorilla, I liked him alright. He seemed competent enough, as did the police. I never really understood Perry screaming “Entrapment!”, since all they did was wait to see if their suspect would come retrieve the check she had previously hidden in the squad car. They didn’t induce her to commit a crime she was otherwise unlikely to commit, which is the definition of entrapment. I suppose it’s a bit of a gray area, but it seemed perfectly fine to me. But in any case, Mr. Snell mentioned having a word with the police about the incident.
It seems like Robert Colbert had a bit of an unlucky streak with his recurring characters. He was also the one unfortunately chosen by Warner Brothers to basically replace the Bret Maverick character after Roger Moore quit the series, citing low-quality scripts for his Beau Maverick character. (While Beau is actually my favorite Maverick, I do have to agree with Roger that the scripts were rather below par, for the most part.) Robert ended up playing a character called Brent Maverick, a third brother to Bret and Bart. In his dress, speech pattern, and mannerisms, as well as his similar name, he was clearly meant to be another Bret. He was aware of this, too, giving the famous quote that he would rather have to cross-dress than do what Warner Brothers wanted of him. The character went over about as well as expected, disappearing after two episodes.
I wonder if they were planning to use Mr. Snell for more than two episodes? I suppose it’s possible that if they had, they would have used the character more favorably, as they did in The Grinning Gorilla. It’s hard to say, since their track record with writing for the prosecutors was up and down. And in season 9, which often wanted to go back to being season 1, there were several very bad “down” ventures.
I would say that it’s interesting in any case to use a recurring character in two different seasons, and only two seasons (unlike more frequent visitors D.A. Hale and Sergeant Landro), but I’ve heard that seasons 8 and 9 were filmed as though they were one big season, a thought which the production numbers back up. Also, it isn’t the first time Perry brings back characters seemingly at random in different seasons. Deputy D.A. Alvin appeared twice in season 4, then disappeared until he very randomly showed up again in season 6. Likewise, Detective Toland of Robbery made appearances in two separate seasons, albeit unlike Alvin, those were consecutive (6 and 7, I believe). It’s kind of neat to see the cast and crew remember these characters sometime after their original appearances.