Back in radio, you can find Vic Perrin in any number of shows,
largely keeping the same company as he had in Gunsmoke.
If you love radio Gunsmoke, you will easily find a place in your heart
and your ear for its sister show, Fort Laramie,
which patrolled the Wyoming air in 1956.
It was well led by another weighty actor, Raymond Burr (Capt. Quince),
although the best thing about it was Jack Moyles (Major Daggett),
and the exchanges between the two men. But listen long enough
and you'll see that it was Perrin who truly grounded that show,
as expected from every cavalry sergeant who ever lived in the western.
In 1962, Vic Perrin was the only Gunsmoke-related person
who showed up in the first episode of Empire,
the modern cowboy tv series created by Kathleen Hite.
The next year, Perrin did not hesitate to play an assistant district attorney
in Perry Mason, undaunted by what had happened to opposing counsel
in 172 previous episodes.
More perrinthetical information:
Alas, Perrin's stature and face in film
did not command as much respect and roles
as his voice.
Too often he was cast as a conniving malicious weasel,
as in the Randolph Scott movie Riding Shotgun,
and in the Rawhide episode 'Incident of the Widowed Dove.'
Perrin's thinking performance in 'The Promoter' is probably his best
in tv Gunsmoke. Of all his roles in science-oriented programs,
we have to go to a western--'Winchester Quarantine,' the 4th episode
of Have Gun Will Travel--to see his most exquisite gem of a performance:
As the scientist Rheinhart, he uses his microscope to uncover a secret
about the local soil, and helps Paladin cut through the bigotry
and ignorance of a frontier town.
Vic Perrin may have been known for giving voice
to nomadic space-probes and metrons;
yet it seems that if you are looking for the greatest Perrin performance,
you must look in the gunsmoke.
September 10, 2005
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