Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Perry Mason's Silent Six, Hampton Fancher, Electric Sheep, & (Not) Hopped Up on Goofballs

Corner of P and 18th St NW, Washington, D.C., 7:28 p.m. July 29, 2018.


I had intended to post this entry last night, but in the end, I just ran out of oomph to finish composing it.

It is now 24 hours later, and I'm again home from the gym after work and watching a Carol Burnett & Friends rerun ahead of, yes, Perry Mason.

The month of July ends in just under an hour -- and while more rain is in the forecast, it doesn't look like any more will fall this calendar day to add to the month's hefty totals. I will have a summary of rainfall stats for KDCA, KBWI, KIAD, and KDMH including the records that were set (although KBWI will miss an all-time monthly total).


OK, from last night …

I'm watching the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Silent Six." It features as the villain a guy named Hamp Fisher, who is played by the actor Hampton Fancher. Curious, I looked up about Hampton Fancher and found this very interesting New Yorker article from August 2017: Hampton Fancher on the Edge of Fame and with a sub-line: The promiscuous adventures of a man-about-town.

This is quite an intro:

In the nineteen-sixties and seventies, Hampton Fancher appeared on more than fifty TV shows and starred in several obscure films. Only two obstacles kept him from becoming a true leading man. One was his hair, a thick brown thatch like an oriole's nest. "You couldn't even find the scalp," Fancher said the other afternoon, in his Brooklyn loft.

"So, because I was also tall" -- nearly six feet five -- "I got cast as the oddball: the firebug, the rapist, the coward." The second obstacle was his personality. "I exuded a lazy superiority that came from the trembling part of me I kept hidden from myself—from the fear that I was an asshole."

Always charismatic -- he had a long relationship with Barbara Hershey and shorter relationships with many, many other women -- he was the smoldering figure at the edge of the frame. Fancher is now seventy-nine, and his hair has relaxed into a graying nimbus.

Left: Francher and first wife, Sue Lyon, in 1964.

His personality has relaxed, too. He sat on an orange exercise ball in his living room, wearing a sarong fastened with a binder clip, blithely discussing what it was like to be the subject of a new documentary, "Escapes," made by Michael Almereyda.

There is also this part:

The seventies were tougher, grainier. In 1977, after quitting the partying life, Fancher stopped acting to become a full-time writer. Over the course of several years, he turned a Philip K. Dick novel into a script that became the bones of "Blade Runner," the dystopian Ridley Scott film.

That Philip K. Dick novel was, of course, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?


This October brings Scott’s "Blade Runner 2049," featuring Harrison Ford, the star of the original, and Ryan Gosling. When the filmmakers began trying to devise a story for the reboot, Fancher said, "Ridley didn't call me for a year. He went to everyone else first, and I felt bad. The joke from him and his team, after he finally did call, was 'We need the old magic!' But the truth is they were desperate."

He smiled. Fancher shares a screenplay credit for the film, and has the sole story credit.

Fancher is now 80 years old and appears to be going fine.

The episode's protagonist -- Sgt. Dave Wolfe -- is played by Skip Homeier.

Perhaps best known for his role in Tomorrow, the World! as a child actor, Homeier was a prolific film and TV actor through the 1950s and 1960s. He was in so many of the those ancient mid-20th Century TV shows I watch in timeless reruns on MeTV: Star Trek: TOS (including the episode "Patterns of Force"), The Outer Limits, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Perry Mason, among others.

Homeier passed away last June (2017) at the age of 86.

As for the Perry Mason episode, in the climatic courtroom scene -- after recounting the savage beating Mr. Fisher inflicted on Sgt. Wolfe's sister character, Susan Wolfe (played by actress Chris Noel) -- Perry Mason asks of Mr. Fisher: "What kind of animal are you?"

There are also at least two references to people being "hopped up on goofballs." "Goofballs" appears to be an old term for barbiturates, marijuana, or any narcotic. "Hopped up" means, of course, excited -- and possibly the "hop" part is linked to opium or other narcotics. Source here. In the recent past, the term "hopped up on goofballs" was made famous by Chief Wiggum in an episode of The Simpsons.

And, yes, the image above is a genuine book cover from 1967. Source here and here.

Returning to the Perry Mason episode …

However, Mr. Fisher is not the actual killer. That would be Ron Peters -- played by actor David Macklin.  In the climax and denouement, you find out that Mr. Peters knows he killed the wrong person (he thought he was killing the person beating Ms. , he blasts all the other bit characters for their indecency as he screams "I CARED! I CARED! I CARED!" Of note, David Macklin passed away in April 2017.


OK, that's all for this entry (which I wrote last night). I'm going to attempt to post another one later tonight.


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