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June 29, 2008:

SLAVING OVER A HOT KEYBOARD

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it is Sunday, a day of rest. So, why do I have to write these fershluganah notes that’s what I’d like to know? I should be resting and yet here I am slaving over a hot keyboard. I should be getting my beauty sleep, yet here I am slaving over a hot keyboard. Oh, well, BK’s work is never done. I shall whistle while I work, like a gazelle in a pontoon (nootnop, spelled backwards). Oh, dear, I have to post these here notes in five minutes. That won’t be happening, so I may as well take my time and write them at my own pace, even though I should be resting since it is Sunday and Sunday is a day of rest. Speaking of rest, yesterday was a nothing sort of day in which I did sort of nothing. I got a decent night’s sleep, then got up, puttered around the home environment, then went for a jog and actually lasted the entire two miles. After that, I had several long telephonic calls, did some work on both piano and computer, did some errands and whatnot, and then called it a day. It hates it when I call it a day – it wishes I would call it an it, but, you know, I’m contrary. I got some foodstuffs from Gelson’s and ate a reasonably reasonable meal, and then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Yesterday, I finished off the last of the Best Of Perry Mason box. The last four episodes were very interesting, although not very good. They were all from the final two seasons of the show. In an interview on Charlie Rose in the late 1980s, Mr. Raymond Burr said they should have stopped at the end of season seven, and that the last two seasons the writing just wasn’t as good. And you can tell that immediately, along with a paucity of the top character actors who populated the first seven seasons. That said, these four episodes were interesting for various reasons. One guest-starred a young Ryan O’Neal. Another was the only Perry Mason show shot in color – it was a great transfer, but color and Perry Mason just didn’t go together. In another episode, there was a Ryan O’Neal look-a-like who turned out to be Kevin O’Neal, who I assume is Ryan’s brother. In another absolutely terrible episode, Raymond Burr played not only Perry Mason, but a drunken English bum. The best was the last, which happened to be the final episode of the series. Ray Collins, who brought so much to the show as the irascible Lt. Tragg, died in 1965 – Richard Anderson was brought in, but to play a character with no personality. In the final episode, Dick Clark is one of the guest-stars – the story takes place in a Hollywood studio where a very popular TV show is being shot. A murder occurs. So, everyone working on the show is interviewed. The fun of this is that everyone who is interviewed were actually the real people who’d worked on Perry Mason for the whole run of the series – the costume person, the makeup person, the grip, the best boy, the assistant cameraman, and lots of others, and that was just done with such humor and affection it was a delight to watch. As I watched the judge in the final courtroom scene I thought that that, too, must be someone connected with the show and, of course, I was right – it was the man himself – Mr. Erle Stanley Gardner. There was a nice, touching tag at the end. There are a whole slew of fun extras – including one of the 1980s TV movies, some Raymond Burr interviews, a Stump the Stars episode, and best of all, screen tests of William Hopper and Raymond Burr, both testing for Perry Mason, and even better, Raymond Burr testing for Hamilton Burger. And there’s a very sad public service film with William Talman, an anti-smoking film – at that point Mr. Talman was dying of lung cancer from a lifetime of smoking. In the film, he states his age as fifty-two – he looks a full decade older than that. Several months after making the film, he died. You couldn’t have had a more perfect series cast than Perry Mason – Mr. Burr, Barbara Hale as Della Street, William Talman as Hamilton Burger, Ray Collins as Tragg, and William Hopper as Paul Drake.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because it is a day of rest and yet here I still sit slaving over a hot keyboard.

Today, as you might know, is a day of rest. I plan to rest on this day of rest. Oh, I have to send some more musical fixes and do a couple of errands, but mostly it will be a restful day of rest. I was thinking about seeing Get Smart, but I’ve now heard from too many people that it’s a really weak comedy and, you know, I just don’t need to see any really weak comedies.

This coming week will see a lot of work to be done – rehearsals, casting, meetings, meals, errands, and whatnot, not necessarily in that order. And, of course, this coming week sees the end of June and the beginning of a little month I like to call July – not to mention July 4th, Independence Day.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do a couple of errands, a couple of music fixes, and most of all I must rest and decide whether to watch a DVD or see a motion picture at the DGA. DVD or DGA? Only time will tell. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s free-for-all day, the day in which you dear readers get to make with the topics and we all get to read about them. So, let’s have loads of lovely topics and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I finally stop slaving over a hot keyboard.

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