Outside of Timothy Carey, who Finley admires, few actors are more skilled at playing world-class oddballs or are more fun to watch doing it.
One day on my first Dragnet, I stepped outside the soundstage to have a cigarette with Jack [Webb] and Ben Alexander. As we were standing there, we heard a commotion and looked toward the front gate of the Disney lot, and through a chain-link fence we could see a couple of studio guards chasing a tall guy in our direction. The guy came flying over the fence and landed on our side of it and grabbed a-hold of Jack’s lapels and pushed him up against the wall, babbling, ‘You gotta use me on the show! You gotta use me on the show!’ It was frightening! Turns out it was a madman of an actor named Timothy Carey. With a crazy look on his face, he demanded that Webb let him appear on Dragnet and Webb, obviously hoping to calm him down and get him to let go, said, ‘Yeah, sure, you’re in the show, when do ya want to start??’ Jack assured Carey that he would be in a Dragnet, and that quieted him down; the guards arrived at that point and took him away.
Timothy Carey might have been a great Dragnet villain but he scared the shit out of us. He was nuts! Carey was an actor who would do anything to get a role; I once heard that he went into the Columbia Studios office of the producer of the motion picture The Caine Mutiny, pulled a gun on him and said, ‘You gonna give me a part in this show?’ When you have that burning desire to be an actor and be on the screen, some people will do whatever it takes.
Timothy with Rory Calhoun in the only film he and Picerni did together (no scenes together though), Flight to Hong Kong (1956)