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Perry Mason - Season Two, Vol. 1
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In what may be television's most thankless role, William Talman costars as district attorney Hamilton Burger, who nearly every week loses what looked to be an open-and-shut case, usually as the result of some dramatic surprise witness (in one episode, a parrot!), an unorthodox legal maneuver, or a cross-examination courtroom confession ("I didn't mean to kill him, your honor"). There is no delving into Mason's private life, although one episode hints at Mason being something of a ladies man. When Della suggestively tells him a new client is in his waiting room, he replies, "Blonde or brunette?" Cleverly plotted, and infused with a palpable noir sensibility , Perry Mason holds up as more than TV Land nostalgia, although it is fun to see such familiar faces as Jesse "the Maytag Repairman" White, Edgar Buchanan (Petticoat Junction), and Joseph Kearns and Herbert Anderson from Dennis the Menace. No extras, but these entertaining episodes will definitely please the court. --Donald Liebenson
- 15 episodes from the 1958-1959 season on 4 discs
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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.
Erle 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 second season cemented Perry, Della, Paul, and even Burger and Lt. Trag as weekly visitors into the homes of a large section of Americans. Like the novels, the title of every episode began with "The Case of-" and each one had some wonderful moments, both in and out of the courtroom. Just as with the first release, the second season will be split into two releases, half the season's episodes on each release. The full episode list for season two is as follows:
The Case of the Corresponding Corpse---The Case of the Lucky Loser---The Case of the Pint-Sized Client---The Case of the Sardonic Sergeant---The Case of the Curious Bride--The Case of the Buried Clock---The Case of the Married Moonlighter---The Case of the Jilted Jockey--- The Case of the Purple Woman---The Case of the Fancy Figures---The Case of the Perjured Parrot---The Case of the Shattered Dream---The Case of the Borrowed Brunette---The Case of the Glittering Goldfish---The Case of the Foot-Loose Doll---The Case of the Fraudulent Foto---The Case of the Romantic Rogue---The Case of the Jaded Joker---The Case of the Caretaker's Cat---The Case of the Stuttering Bishop---The Case of the Lost Last Act---The Case of the Bedeviled Doctor---The Case of the Howling Dog---The Case of the Calendar Girl--- The Case of the Petulant Partner---The Case of the Dangerous Dowager---The Case of the Deadly Toy---The Case of the Spanish Cross---The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom---The Case of the Lame Canary
It seems that almost everything on television is getting a DVD release as of late, many of little or no significance. Perry Mason was not only a terrific show, but an important part of television history, and our culture as Americans. TV didn't get any better, and only on rare occasions was it as good. Just a fantastic show, both entertaining and, today, nostalgic. A can't miss.
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