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Perry Mason: Season 1, Vol. 1

4.8 out of 5 stars 316 customer reviews

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(Jul 11, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

There was a time when the defense attorney was a heroic everyman, not the butt of bad jokes; think Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and, of course, Raymond Burr's incomparable Perry Mason. The first season of Perry Mason, which launched in 1957 on CBS, shows just how dramatic a "law and order" show could be. Shot in lush black and white, on film, the episodes have been lovingly restored (including lost minutes hacked from reruns to accommodate commercials). The story arcs and atmosphere feel more like film noir (Perry Mason + Philip Marlowe = separated at birth?) than early TV. The cast was stellar, including Burr's Emmy-winning Perry Mason, the indefatigable lawyer who takes tough cases no one else will touch. Burr's chemistry crackles from episode 1 with his costars, including Barbara Hale as secretary Della, William Hopper as private detective Paul Drake, and William Talman as Hamilton Burger, the well-meaning but overmatched district attorney. While it's true that the last-minute witness-stand confessions strain some credulity, the case-cracking, character development, and dialogue set a high bar for the legal shows that followed. "The Case of the Negligent Nymph," for instance, involves a comely young woman--and murder suspect--fished out of the Pacific; Mason deadpans to Drake, "Call off the search, Paul; we've landed our mermaid." The shows unfold at a leisurely pace, and yet don't rely on the overly expositive dialogue that, say, Law & Order does; the viewer learns a lot about each case simply as it happens. The set contains the first 19 episodes of the first season and will hook you, even if you're not a procedural buff. --A.T. Hurley

Special Features

  • The first 19 episodes from season 1 (1957-58) on five discs

Product Details

  • Actors: Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Talman, William Hopper
  • Directors: Robert Ellis Miller, Ted Post, James Goldstone, Jack Arnold, Don Weis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Full Screen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount/CBS
  • DVD Release Date: July 11, 2006
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (316 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000F48D0U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,615 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Perry Mason: Season 1, Vol. 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
First, to clear up the error in a prior review...this set will be captioned. The official announcement stated this.

For years PM has only been seen in butchered syndicated versions with 6 minutes or more missing from each episode. These DVDs will be mastered from the original elements and will be the complete 52 minute versions. PM was filmed, not videotaped, which will result in very high quality DVDs.

Although all 9 seasons were excellent, the first season is remarkable in that the cast found their stride immediately and delivered 39 noir-like episodes that are as suspenseful as any Hollywood movie. 19 of these episodes will be in the set with 20 to be included in Volume 2.

Paramount has an excellent record in fast tracking releases of their classic shows, hopefully PM will be as well.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
From the stirring music to the brilliant acting, Perry Mason remains one of the best courtroom dramas ever produced, even though it was one of TV's earliest.

Based on the successful books by Erle Stanley Gardner, the production quality of the series was so high that the many of the episodes have the feeling of a movie, or as some reviewers have noted, true film noir.

Debuting in 1957, Perry Mason ran for nine seasons and became a part of popular culture. It propelled its star, Raymond Burr, into the status of an icon, even though he already had a distinguished career as a movie actor, ironically primarily playing bad guys. In Mason, Burr brought incredible depth, quick intelligence and an amazing robust energy that remains as fresh today as it was almost 50 years ago!

The first season had 39 episodes, 19 of which are being released in this DVD boxed set, while the remaining 20 will be released in Season One, Volume 2.

In addition to Burr, the stellar cast includes Barbara Hale, who portrays Mason's devoted secretary, Della Street; William Hopper as Mason's private investigator Paul Drake; William Talman as the perennially losing District Attorney Hamilton Burger; and Ray Collins, as the acerbic but honest Lt. Arthur Tragg.

Although Mason often acted as an investigator, won all but one of his cases, and he managed to evoke witness stand confessions from the majority of the guilty parties, the show still managed to convey a courtroom realism seldom seen, and is still often sadly missing in modern TV series dealing with crime and punishment.
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Format: DVD
It's been a long wait. The best courtroom drama (witness stand confessions and Perry's theatrics included) of all time finally comes to season-by-season DVD box sets. Once more, we'll hear Paul's signature shave-and-a-haircut knock at Perry's door (just in case Tragg happens to be visiting). We'll see the knowing smiles and sidelong glances shared between Perry and Della. We'll watch Hamilton Burger get served up like, well, hamburger once he's well-cooked by Perry's sometimes questionable but always satisfyingly clever tactics. I can't wait until July! Can you?
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Let's start off with the negative points about this set:
There are no "bonus" extras.
Only 1/2 of Season 1 is here.
It's a bit pricey.
If any of that is important to you, deduct the appropriate amount of stars.
Now to the good part:
The 1st season of Perry Mason was the best of all, with most of the episodes on this DVD set being taken from Gardner's novels.
The quality of the prints used and the transfer quality are both first rate.
The cool 50's music is excellent and provides a great background to the action.
The performances are exceptional - all the players meshed right away.
William Talman's sputtering, exasperated Burger, constantly threatening Perry with "charges" in this 1st season is a far cry from the friendly attitude he would adopt toward the end of the show's run.
Ray Collins as the sardonic Lt. Tragg steals every scene he's in! A real pro!
And, of course, the performances of Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale and William Hopper are outstanding. What a team! Who wouldn't want Perry to be their lawyer?
Watch Perry change his cars often - a top-of-the-line Ford hardtop convertible, a Cadillac El Dorado convertible, even a Buick Special convertible (which is seen in other episodes being used by persons other than Perry).
Paul must be doing pretty well also since he has both a Corvette and a T-Bird!
Poor old Ham Burger is seen riding around in a cheap Ford.
Even Tragg is driving a Buick!
See the props being reused often in other settings (like Ham Burger's desk lamp which somehow made it into the estate of a millionaire in "Negligent Nymph"!)
All-in-all, a first rate set which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I'm looking forward to the release of Season 1, Part 2.
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Format: DVD
Perry Mason was certainly the finest courtroom drama ever on television. It was entertainment that kept viewers glued to their seats, waiting for that moment when Perry would nail the killer on the witness stand and free his client.

Raymond Burr had some good roles in films, but will always be remembered for the tough defense attorney you wanted on your side in the toughest jam. Barbara Hale was his pretty secretary, Della Street, who kept Perry human and was in love with him. William Hopper was the dapper detective, Paul Drake. He had a playful and flirtatious relationship with Della but every viewer knew that secretly her heart belonged to Perry.

William Talman as D.A. Hamilton Burger was the perfectly cast guy you almost felt sorry for, as just when he was ready to gloat over his victory in court, Perry would spring his client by revealing the real killer, once again defeating poor old Burger. The relationship of these four people made the mood and mystery of the often gripping conclusion fun to watch. There has never been anything close to it in genre on television since. Its mix of drama, noir, and humor, and its truly likable characters, made for terrific viewing.

Earle Stanley Gardner's original creation of Perry Mason was a bit more two-fisted pulp type reading, but slowly grew into something resembling the show when it became so popular. Gardner's Perry Mason novels, begun decades before the show and continuing for decades more, are still fun to read. The same can be said of every single show in the series.

The first season, unlike many shows, hit its stride immediately, and remained top-notch television for many years.
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Topic From this Discussion
Perry Mason TV episodes on DVD
Not yet, but apparently they will be eventually. The reason for the half season set I understand is that there were 39 episodes in the first year. That would be 10 DVDs in the first they decided to split it into two parts. Season two probably will be split as well, but from then on I... Read More
Jun 24, 2006 by S. Breazeal |  See all 6 posts
The only Perry Mason episode filmed in color
The final episode was The Case of The Final Fadeout, featuring Erle Stanley Gardner as Judge #2. For fun & more info, checkout
Jul 5, 2006 by trig |  See all 5 posts
What Happened To The Columbia House DVD Series?
Daniel, You Are Right. Columbia House Did Offer Consumers "Land Of The Giants" Then Abruptly Stopped The Offer Before Anyone Could Complete Their Collection. What I Was Offered Was 10 Volumes With About 2-3 Episodes Per Disc. I Believe A Couple of Them May Have Had 4 Episodes. I Don't... Read More
Jun 28, 2010 by Earline Taylor |  See all 10 posts
Single or double-sided disks
They are single-siders.
Nov 8, 2015 by Ben Masters |  See all 2 posts
When Parry lost.
"The Case of the Terrified Typist" was a 1956 novel (repeated in the TV show) where Perry's client was found guilty of First Degree murder, and the jury did not recommend clemency. But Perry was able to void the verdict on a legal technicality. (I won't give it away.)
There was another... Read More
Sep 22, 2011 by Acute Observer |  See all 2 posts
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