Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Most Dangerous Man on TV!

He faced off against these two guys three times...
...(more than any other antagonist in history)!
&
He forced the only time these two duos met...
...though they spent as much time fighting each other as they did dealing with his machinations!
Plus, he went up multiple times against other major heroes (though always in different roles), including Solo and Kuryakin: the Men from U.N.C.L.E., I Spy's Kelly and Robinson, and even Transformer Optimus Prime and his Autobots!
Who is the actor who played the Most Dangerous Man on TV?
A TV fixture in the 1960s (with occasional movie roles), the roly-poly actor's jovial on-screen persona usually concealed deadly intent, which made him a popular guest star baddie on genre shows, often appearing as different villains in different seasons!
Roger made two appearances as Harry Mudd, two on Classic Star Trek and one on the Animated series (becoming the only non-Enterprise crew character to do so)
The Enterprise crew encounter charming rogue Leo Walsh transporting three women, ostensibly to become wives to miners on an isolated planetoid.
What they soon learn is that he's really a wanted con man, Harcourt Fenton Mudd!
Mudd utilizes the women to manipulate the miners into withholding needed dilithium from Kirk unless Harry is granted amnesty.
The plan almost succeeds, but one of the women rebels against Mudd and reveals Harry is using illegal drugs to enhance their femininity and attractiveness!
With the con revealed, the miners (who are now married to the ladies) give Kirk the dilithium and Mudd is taken prisoner!
Roger plays Harry as alternately charming and almost psychotically-menacing, not hesitating to allow the Enterprise and all aboard to be destroyed if it allows his escape!
An android disguised as a Starfleet crewman sabotages the Enterprise and hijacks it to a remote planetoid where Kirk and company discover the android's commander is...Harry Mudd!
Harry explains he escaped from prison, but his ship, damaged by pursuers, crashed on this uncharted world.
A world populated by alien androids whose masters had died out centuries ago, so they willingly agreed to serve Mudd.
Unfortunately, his imagination was insufficent to keep up with their need for projects to do, so he hijacked a starship to get a whole crew of bright, intelligent people for the androids to serve...coincidentally, it was the Enterprise!
But, as most of Mudd's plans tend to do, this one goes awry when the androids reveal that, after observing Harry, they decide it would be best for the galaxy if they pacified humanity by removing it's desire to do anything by giving all humans whatever they wanted, in essence subjugating hamanity with kindness!
It's a much more humorous outing then the previous Mudd adventure, filled with witty repartee between Mudd and the crew, and, once Harry ends up in the same situation with the crew, the lot of them against the androids!
"Mudd's Passion"
You'd think the least likely returning character to appear on the Saturday morning version of the series would be a con man who dealt in drugs and playing with people's sexual drives, yet here he is...dealing drugs and manipulating people's sex drives...but done with delicacy and good taste...sort of...
Having escaped from the androids. Harry is back to his thieving ways, promoting a phony aphrodisiac...which actually works!
Interestingly, it not only inspires romantic love between sexes, but enhances non-romantic affection between same-sex friends, resulting in perhaps the most controversial scene between Kirk and Spock in Star Trek history...
Yes, they're hugging!
Carmel's Harry Mudd is softened considerably here, no longer the callous SOB who would let the Enterprise (and crew) be destroyed, but he's as snarky and snide as ever, getting off a number of zingers before heading for incarceration...again!
But that wasn't the end of Mudd!
When DC Comics acquired the rights to Star Trek after Trek II: the Wrath of Khan came out, they created tales to fill the time frames between the movie adventures, often reviving TV series characters in new adventures.
So it was inevitable that you-know-who would return...
...in a couple of pretty good multi-part tales!
...keeping him in sleazy, snarky character throughout!
And now, the prequel series Star Trek: Discovery has cast Rainn (The Office) Wilson as a younger, but still snarky, Harcourt Fenton Mudd...
...adapting some of the style and mannerisms of Roger C Carmel into his characterization!
But, fans, that's not the only legendary nemesis Caramel created!

BTW, this is part of the...
Click HERE to see some of the other amazing tales of the video baddies you love to hate!

2 comments:

  1. Roger C. Carmel was certainly memorable as Mudd. It was a role seemingly written with him in mind. I didn't watch the animated series nor read the comic books, so I truly appreciated seeing what Mudd looked like in each of those!

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  2. What a great choice! It's always fun seeing him pop up in shows of the era, and sometimes (as in "The Naked City") he can be quite sinister. You've really captured him here!

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