Perry Mason (TV series)
show_name = Perry Mason
caption = Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale.
runtime = 60 minutes
creator = Based on characters created by
Erle Stanley Gardner
executive_producer = Gail Patrick Jackson
Thomas Cornwall Jackson
Wesley Lau Richard Anderson
opentheme = "Park Avenue Beat" by
country = USA
September 21, 1957[cite book | title = The Perry Mason TV show book : the complete story of America's favorite television lawyer | url = http://www.perrymasontvshowbook.com | chapter = Episode Guide - The First Season | chapterurl = http://www.perrymasontvshowbook.com/pmb_c900_e001.htm | first = Brian | last = Kelleher | coauthors = Diana Merrill | location = New York | publisher = St. Martin's Press | year = 1987 | isbn = 0312006691 | oclc = 15251393 | accessdate = 2007-09-18 ]
May 22, 1966[cite book | title = The Perry Mason TV show book : the complete story of America's favorite television lawyer | url = http://www.perrymasontvshowbook.com | chapter = Episode Guide - The Ninth Season | chapterurl = http://www.perrymasontvshowbook.com/pmb_c908_e271.htm | first = Brian | last = Kelleher | coauthors = Diana Merrill | location = New York | publisher = St. Martin's Press | year = 1987 | isbn = 0312006691 | oclc = 15251393 | accessdate = 2007-09-18 ]
num_seasons = 9
num_episodes = 271
imdb_id = 0050051
tv_com_id = 1039
"Perry Mason" is an Emmy-winning American TV series that ran from 1957 to 1966.
Perry Masonwas played by actor Raymond Burr. The title character is a fictional defense attorneywho originally appeared in detective fictionby Erle Stanley Gardner. The plot is essentially the same in each episode: Mason's client is put on trial for murder, but Mason is able to establish his client's innocence by dramatically demonstrating the guilt of another character. [Thomas Leitch, "Perry Mason". Detroit: Wayne State University Press (2005): 28 - 29. "It is never enough for Mason to establish a reasonable doubt of his client's guilt; he must clear the client absolutely by pinning the guilt on someone else, almost always by extracting a confession."] The murderer nearly always breaks down and confesses to the crime in the courtroom, if not on the witness stand. Barbara Haleplayed Perry's confidential secretary, Della Street, known as "Beautiful" by Detective Paul Drake, played by William Hopper.
William Talman played Mason's perennial adversary,
District AttorneyHamilton Burger; Ray Collinsplayed the part of the crusty, dedicated police lieutenant, Arthur Tragg, who often frustrated Mason. In later years of the series, Collins' age (he was 67 when the series began) caused him to appear less and less, and he was succeeded by Wesley Lauas Lt. Andy Anderson, and later Richard Andersonas Lt. Steve Drumm.
Among the actors appearing as
judges were John Gallaudet, S. John Launer (the father of Dale Launer, who wrote My Cousin Vinny), Bill Zuckert and Kenneth MacDonald, well-known for his appearances as a bad guy in Three Stoogesshorts. Connie Cezon, who had a recurring role as Gertrude "Gertie" Lade, Perry's receptionist, had also appeared in a number of Three Stooges short films.
The show is "television's most successful and longest-running lawyer series."cite book | title = The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, 1946-Present | last = Brooks | first = Tim | coauthors = Earle Marsh | location = New York | publisher = Ballantine | year = 1979 | isbn = 0345282485 | oclc = 4496779 ] Another series ran from 1973-1974, and more than 25 made-for-TV movies aired from 1985 to 1993.
The series also set a precedent for other mystery series in that it was the first detective show to feature either a tape or chalk outline to mark the spot where the murder victim's body had been found.Fact|date=February 2007 The first time this appeared was in the episode "The Case of the Perjured Parrot," which aired in 1958. However, Gardner used this idea in a much earlier book, "Double Or Quits" (1941) written under his pen name of A. A. Fair. [cite book | title = Double Or Quits | first = A. A. | last = Fair | year = 1941 | quote = The coroner ... brought out a piece of chalk and said, ‘All right, now mark there on the floor right where the body was lying. Make a little diagram. Mark the position of his head, of his feet, and of his arms.’ | year = 1941 | location = New York | publisher = W. Morrow | oclc = 3743209 ]
theme music, "Park Avenue Beat," by Fred Steiner, is one of television's most recognizable themes. [cite news|url = http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-6897394.html | format = archive, registration required | title=Top TV songs are woven into the fabric of our lives|last=Bank|first=Ed|work= Milwaukee Journal Sentinel|date= 2001-05-07|accessdate=2007-04-30]
One episode during the final season ("The Case of the Twice-Told Twist", broadcast
February 27, 1966), was filmed in color, while all the other episodes were in black and white. The episode begins with a kid in his late teens cajoled into going along with a ring of car thieves. Perry and Della take a trip up Angel's Flight in downtown Los Angeles, California, and return ten minutes later to find Perry's car stripped down to the frame.
Years later, a "
TV Guide" interview statedFact|date=February 2007 that Raymond Burr was not the original choice for Mason, and that the producers were firmly against Burr, but they agreed to let him audition for Mason if he would also audition for District Attorney Hamilton Burger. The part had originally been offered to Fred MacMurray, but MacMurray turned it down. As the story goesFact|date=February 2007, Mason's creator, Erle Stanley Gardner, happened to be sitting in on the auditions that day and excitedly shouted, "That's Perry Mason," upon seeing Burr. Gardner later made a cameo as a judge in the last episode of the original series, "The Case of the Final Fade-Out." (Coincidentally Burr had starred as a successful prosecuting attorney in " A Place in the Sun", the 1951 film version of " An American Tragedy".)
The original series was a staple in syndication, running for many years on local television stations, TBS and most recently on the
Hallmark Channel. It is still shown in local markets and on selected stations of the Retro Television Network, and is distributed by CBS Television Distribution, originally Viacom Enterprises, Paramount Domestic Televisionand CBS Paramount Domestic Television.
Recently, CBS posted full 60-minute episodes on its website from the first and second seasons for viewing. [http://www.cbs.com/classics/perry_mason/]
Perry Mason, defense attorney (played by Raymond Burr)
Della Street, Mason's confidential secretary (played by Barbara Hale)
* Paul Drake, private investigator (played by
Hamilton Burger- District Attorney (played by William Talman)
* Lieutenant Arthur Tragg - Police homicide investigator (played by Ray Collins)
* Lieutenant Steve Drumm - Another police homicide investigator (played by
* Lieutenant Andy Anderson - Yet another police homicide investigator (played by
* Perry Mason's office phone number is MA 5-1190.
* The series was set in Los Angeles, California, and often included real-life street names.
# In "The Case of the Sun-bather's Diary (Season 1 Episode 17 - Original Airdate: January 11, 1958)," Perry Mason places an ad in the paper, in order to find a stolen trailer for a client, which states: "WANTED - Used Biltmore Trailer, De Luxe Model. Will pay top dollar for one in excellent condition. Phone Perry Mason, MA 5-1190." Emphasis added.
# In "The Case of the Fugitive Nurse (Season 1 Episode 22 - Original Airdate: February 15, 1958)," Lieutenant Arthur Tragg offers Mrs. Morris "Madison 5, 1 1 9 0" as the number to Mr. Mason's office. Emphasis added.
# As per "The Case of the Fanciful Frail (Season 9 Episode 24 - Original Airdate: March 27, 1966)," Perry Mason's office was located at "Brent Building Suite 904" with a phone number of "MA 5-1190." Emphasis added.
In July 2006,
CBS Home Entertainmentreleased the first 19 episodes on a five-disc set titled "Season 1, Volume 1." The remaining 20 episodes from the first season were released in November 2006 as "Season 1, Volume 2." The DVDs contain the original full-length version of each episode, while re-runs broadcast in syndication have been edited down to allow for more time for commercials.
There are two volumes because the first season of Perry Mason contains nearly twice the material of a modern TV series. Perry Mason episodes are 53 minutes long (as opposed to 43 minutes which is more typical of modern 1-hour TV show releases), and there are 39 episodes (compared to 22 for a typical modern series). It was also released as a single "complete season one" boxed set in November 2006. Season 2, Volume 1 was released in June, 2007, on four discs with 15 episodes and Season 2, Volume 2, which contained the remaining episodes from Season 2, was released on November 13, 2007. A special 4 disc "50th Anniversary" set (12 episodes) was released in April 2008.
The first half of the third season has been provisionally scheduled for release on August 19, 2008.
An unsuccessful attempt to recreate the series was made in
1973. Starring Monte Markham, " The New Adventures of Perry Mason" only lasted one season. [imdb title|id=0069615|title=The New Perry Mason "]
Dean Hargroveresurrected the popular Mason character in a series of Television movies for NBCbeginning in 1985. Hargrove was able to bring back the two then-surviving major stars, Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale(reprising their roles as Mason and Della Street, respectively) for the first telefilm, "Perry Mason Returns", in which Mason, now an appellate courtjudge, resigns his position to successfully defend his secretary, Della, on murder charges. William Katt, Hale's real-life son, was cast as the son of Paul Drake ( William Hopper, the former private investigator in the original television series, who had died years earlier). The original theme music was re-recorded by famed mystery music composer Dick DeBenedictis, who would also compose the theme to Dean Hargrove's "Matlock" a year later. A total of thirty (30) movies were made between 1985 and 1995, and Raymond Burr starred in twenty-six (26) of them. Raymond Burr died in 1993, and the final four (4) episodes were titled "A Perry Mason Mystery."
* [http://www.gloubik.info/mason/anglais/mason.html Perry Mason's Page]
* [http://www.cbs.com/classics/perry_mason/video/video.php?cid=649313200&cc=0 Perry Mason Season 1 streaming Episodes at CBS.COM]
* [http://www.cbs.com/classics/perry_mason/video/video.php?cid=687870421&cc=1 Perry Mason Season 2 streaming Episodes at CBS.COM]
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