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Perry Mason is an attorney who specializes in defending seemingly indefensible cases. With the aid of his secretary Della Street and investigator Paul Drake, he often finds that by digging deeply into the facts, startling facts can be revealed. Often relying on his outstanding courtroom skills, he often tricks or traps people into unwittingly admitting their guilt.
I have been watching Perry Mason since the late 1950's and have long since lost track of how many times I've seen every episode. I was hoping that it would eventually be released on DVD - uncut, sharp, commercial-free, and complete - and now it will be. The casting was perfect and Raymond Burr was born to play Mason. No one else has ever even come close. Someone once said, "It's like having an old friend in the room". That was probably more than 40 years ago and it's still true today.
After nine years the Perry Mason franchise needed a rest. When the series began in the fifties, few shows were in color and the TV movie had yet to be invented. The earliest episodes of the series were often based on actual Earle Stanley Gardner titles, mostly pulp fiction mostly written in the thirties, forties and fifties.
By the time the television series ended there were seventy seven Gardner novels and two hundred seventy one television episodes. Each case required Mason, but virtue of courtroom theatrics as Hamilton Burger often put it, not only to get his client off but also to serve the interests of justice by revealing the identity of the true killer who confesses in open court. Gardner had over thirty years to produce his seventy seven novels, the scriptwriters were churning out about thirty episodes a season, three quarters of them original screenplays.
Those kind of demands take tolls on the writers, actors and directors. As time went by, the film noir grit and glamour of LA murders presented in grainy black and white began be stretched too far. And so, the final season of this iconic courtroom drama lacks some of the punch that hooked us so thoroughly during the Eisenhower Administration.
But this season is the last of the real Perry Mason. Paisanos Productions offered us Monte Markham in the title role of the "New Perry Mason" for a season in 1973. That fifteen episode dud, proved to be like "new Coke" and swelled the demand for the real thing. Burr and Barbara Hale, as Della Street, returned to make twenty five TV movies between 1986 and 1993. These were two hour jobs ( no original show was ever even a two parter), filmed in color (so much for film noir) and set in Denver.Read more ›
I chose this rating as I really like this Ninth & Final Season of Perry Mason. They have all aged gracefully and it is nice to see Paul Drake still the consummate private detective and friend, ever faithful secretary Della Street and the fiercely independent Hamilton Burger honorable contemporaries in the courtroom with Perry. The stories are well acted and it is nice to see stars who have gone to other careers getting their start in this wonderful series. I was sorry to see Wesley Lau leave but Richard Anderson as Lt. Steve Drumm is a welcome replacement. But the real enjoyment is seeing Raymond Burr in his signature role of which he has made his own doing the professional job he has always done. Anybody that longs for the series that were shown in the past that bring back memories of what TV use to be and, sadly, won't be again, will love the memories it brings back. I am looking forward to seeing the Volume 2 of this Final Season and feel bad to see it end. Highly recommended.
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These fifteen TV shows from 1965 are based on the novels of Erle Stanley Gardner. The books are more complete and informative, they tell about life that is not experienced by most people. The books explain why some things are done, the films only show you what happened. The books tell you about “ropers”, rough or smooth shadows, how to evade surveillance, and avoid leaving a back trail. Some questioned the legality and ethics of Perry Mason’s tactics but the stories were written before modern legal rules. The background tells about life in Los Angeles and America. There is nothing like these dramatic stories on today’s broadcast TV. When was the last time you saw a trial lawyer as a hero? Erle Stanley Gardner was a founder of the “Court of Last Resort” which sought to free the unjustly convicted. Gardner sought to use scientific means to find the guilty rather than using hunches or guesses alone.
The seeming reality of these stories is due in part to characters who don’t look like Hollywood actors. Some of the original stories were modified for TV. The theme music is typical for the late 1950s. Note the style of clothing and culture; ladies wore white gloves. People seldom lock their doors. The prices date these films. One advantage is seeing the many automobiles from that era. How many can you identify? Note the slimness of people, the smoking, and the familiarity with pistols. Watch how the actors express their emotions by their facial expressions. The camera sharpness and quality is excellent, but these films have a higher contrast than in earlier seasons. These stories often use the misinterpretation of circumstantial evidence to provide dramatic effects. The courtroom scenes are usually the Preliminary Hearings and often tell about the law.Read more ›
Well Santa has brought Season 9, volume 1 and 2 and that will complete my collection except for half of season 2.. which I plan on acquiring shortly. I am only on the second disc of volume 1 but I will say that so far I am disappointed... the writing does not seem the same quality as in years past.. the shows sort of sloppy and meandering, "Andy" Anderson (Wesley Lau ) is gone.. and his replacement, though a fine actor in his own right , just doesn't fill the bill. I am also seeing that several of the episodes are in fact remakes of episodes from earlier seasons.. why was this necessary? Did the writers go on strike? Did they run out of original material? The one I've watched so far, the Impetuous Imp? is a remake of the Negligent nymph.. though the basic story line is very similar.. a girl's rich aunt has died and her uncle is accused of the murder.. this story is very poorly made in comparison to the original episode ... very sub par. I know I'm in the minority here, but I def. think this season is quite mediocre. But still Perry Mason, still as handsome and shrewd as ever, still in delicious B&W . Still watching.