Perry Mason: Season 4, Vol. 2
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Another sixties wonder was the space race. "The Case of the Misguided Missile" was shot extensively at Vandenberg Air Force Base, the Pacific missile launch site. Among the cast was William Schallert, later of the Patty Duke Show and the mayor in the Best Picture Oscar winning fim "In the Heat of the Night". Also in the cast of that episode was James B. Sikking, a Hill Street Blues regular.
However most times when Burger and Tragg are absent the courtroom drama lacks real sizzle. The replacement prosecutors are never haunted by Burger's horrendous won-loss record against Mason, and sort of plod along. Talman projects a hunger to win, and when he doesn't he is always gracious. These other prosecutors just disappear. In one episode, Mason with tongue firmly in cheek, tells Paul and Della that he was to rush to the courthouse because "Hamilton Burger is about to win a case."
As always the writers worked closely with Mason's creator Erle Stanley Gardner. They had to. Gardner had final approval of all scripts. And that is the reason this series remained true to Gardner's vision. After Gardner died in 1970, the series was revised as TV movies starring Raymond Burr. Not one of the TV movies approaches the quality of any episode in this box set. And that is all the reason in the world to add it to your DVD collection.
It was Gardner himself who picked Raymond Burr, even though the studio only agreed to let him test for Perry if he would test for Burger too! 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. And we liked it that way.
William Talman as D.A. Hamilton Burger would almost be ready to gloat, Lt. Tragg (Ray Collins) not far behind, when Perry would spring his client by revealing the real killer on the witness stand. There has never been anything close to it in genre on television since. Its mix of drama, noir, and humor, and its truly likable central cast of characters, made for terrific viewing.
Season four was terrific. Releasing them in half seasons, the first half on volume one, the second on volume two now, is indeed an effective but annoying marketing scheme. I agree the price should be lowered, but at the same time agree that as entertainment, this is an incredible value. So, much like gasoline and food, you pay what you have to. Hopefully at some point, Amazon or Paramount will make an effort to still make a profit with a sure-fire hit, while giving fans a better purchase price.Read more ›
These twelve TV films from 1961 are mostly stories based on the novels of Erle Stanley Gardner. The books are more complete and informative and tell stories about life that is not experienced by most people. The books can tell you why certain things are done, the films only show you what happened. The books tell you about “ropers”, rough or smooth shadows, and how to evade surveillance and avoid leaving a back trail. Some may question the legality and ethics of Perry Mason’s tactics but most stories were written before the modern legal rules of the 1960s. The backgrounds tell about life in Los Angeles. It is difficult to film a scene at night but easy to describe it in a book. Erle Stanley Gardner was the founder of the "Court of Last Resort" which sought to free many unjustly convicted persons. Gardner, among others, 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. The theme music is typical for that era. 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 the late 1950s. 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 on these films.. 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? These stories often use the misinterpretation of circumstantial evidence to provide dramatic effects.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Perry Mason TV programs set the standard for all later TV court/lawyer shows to try to meet. I believe that Perry Mason was and is the best show of its kind ever on television.Published 2 days ago by Rex Gillham
Clever writing and good acting make these episodes entertaining to this day.Published 1 month ago by JHC
Classic Perry Mason! Not the gritty first season, but fun (although formulaic)!Published 2 months ago by Constant cleaner
Again, a must have for all Perry Mason fans. The production quality is terrific.Published 2 months ago by Plain Jane
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