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Questions About, and Reasons Why I Miss Perry Mason Today

Updated on April 26, 2016
Perry Mason, (Raymond Burr), Barbara Hale, (Della Street) talk about a case Mason is working on.
Perry Mason, (Raymond Burr), Barbara Hale, (Della Street) talk about a case Mason is working on.

Some low down on Perry Mason.

Perry Mason was an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from September 21, 1957, to May 22, 1966. The main character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, was a fictional Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who originally appeared in detective fiction works by Erle Stanley Gardner.

What? No objections? Well, let's continue.

Gail Patrick Jacson, Executive producer, Perry Mason, 1961.
Gail Patrick Jacson, Executive producer, Perry Mason, 1961.

I loved Perry Mason.

And that is saying a lot for back in the time that this show was "the" show to watch thanks to it's executive producer, Gail Patrick Jackson, for providing an intense dramatic atmosphere each week that literally drew viewers into the courtroom to watch Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) take on District Attorney, Hamilton Burger (William Talman) and just when we thought Mason was going to lose, Paul Drake (Paul Drake), the sleek, debonair private eye would enter the courtroom with a slip of paper with important info for Mason to use and ultimately win yet another case.

Bring back a few memories?

William Hopper, (Paul Drake) and Perry Mason, (Raymond Burr), inspect a crime scene where Mason's client was allegedly seen only moments before a tragic crime was committed.
William Hopper, (Paul Drake) and Perry Mason, (Raymond Burr), inspect a crime scene where Mason's client was allegedly seen only moments before a tragic crime was committed.

Mason was not my favorite character.

Are you shocked? I am proud to say that Paul (William Hopper) Drake was my favorite on the Perry Mason series. Drake not only spoke things that Los Angeles private eye's said in this time frame, but looked the part "to a 't." Drake always looked like a million dollars with his slick pants, slick hair combed to perfection and almost everytime he was in a scene, he was smoking a cigarette as most private eye's did who were serious private eye's. (Note: I do not condone the use of tobacco in any form).

To make Drake an even better character, he was a single man dating women of his choice and driving them around L.A. in his convertible which was on many of the Perry Mason episodes. I know you will laugh as I share this with you: Watching Perry Mason at an early age planted the idea in my head to grow up and be a real-life private eye charging $100.00 per day plus expenses and waiting for a lonely blond with a perfect hourglass figure to need my services. Nope. Another dream that did not materialize.

Paul Drake (William  Hopper)  Della Street (Barbara  Hale) with cop Frank Sully.
Paul Drake (William Hopper) Della Street (Barbara Hale) with cop Frank Sully.
Perry Mason, (Raymond Burr), William Talman, (Hamilton Burger), appear in a heated scene from Perry Mason.
Perry Mason, (Raymond Burr), William Talman, (Hamilton Burger), appear in a heated scene from Perry Mason.

I wonder if any of the below actors could have played the role of Perry Mason better than Raymond Burr?

Chad Everett
Chad Everett | Source
Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck | Source
John Russell
John Russell | Source
Rod Taylor
Rod Taylor | Source

I think I need to tell you the title of my hub.

Questions About, and Reasons Why I Miss Perry Mason Today

  • Believability - - Perry Mason, although fictional, was believable. We did not have to guess who was on what side when it came to the evil and good guys. Mason looked, acted, and talked like a real defense attorney and his supporting cast did their roles as if it were a day in real life. Today's drama's are not "cut from the material" that Perry Mason was cut from that is for sure.
  • No Nosense - - There was that small amount of light and sometimes-humorous talk among characters, but no time wasted on ignorant issues as "The Brown Teat Mouse and How it Affects Arizona's Water Table." Not in Perry's time. He defended accused murderers and that's all. We knew from week to week what Mason and crew would be doing. And with that in mind, we always watched.
  • Glamour - - was on a moderate level, but when it came to the Hollywood glamour, Barbara Hale fit the bill. She was always dressed professionally and acted the consumate professional secretary "spot on" with no intruding or over-staying her welcome in Mason's office. This can also be said of Paul Drake. He would enter Mason's office, tell a brief tale of what or what he had not found out about a certain person involved in the current case and go about his business. But on a few shows, Mason, Drake, and Street all went to lunch together. In today's lingo, I suppose that Drake was the "third wheel."
  • Stirring Our Emotions - - is the best way to describe how "I" felt each week as my family and I watched Perry Mason. And I always grew irritated at Lieutenant Tragg (Ray Collins). This guy was always in grumpy mood. I guess he was grumpy due to the feeling of losing out on another "collar" the week before when Mason helped free the woman he had caught "dead to rights," as he would say. Even cool-minded Paul Drake would often get hacked off at Tragg's over-zealous attitude toward a case.

Unanswered Questions About The Perry Mason Show:

  • Why didn't Mason and Street date?
  • Why didn't Mason and Street not get married? The sparks were there.
  • Why didn't Paul Drake ever talk of matrimony? "Playing the field," can get weary, right?
  • Did Perry Mason ever go on a needed-vacation?
  • Why didn't we ever see his clients hand him a hefty check for saving their neck?
  • Was Hamilton Burger, the D.A., ever scolded by the California State Attorney General for losing every case he prosecuted against Perry Mason?
  • Did the writers for Perry Mason not want him to ever be attracted to the many pretty women who needed his legal experience?
  • Why didn't Lieutenant Tragg ever get a promotion? The answer is almost identical to that about Hamilton Burger, D.A.
  • Why didn't viewers ever see the apartment or home where Perry Mason lived?
  • Why did we never learn any personal background about Mason? Number of brothers, sisters, his military service record, and things like that.
  • What school of law did Mason graduate?
  • Why didn't the judges ever find him in contempt of court for yelling at the witness on the stand who he knew would cave when yelled at?

My last and most-important question is:

Why can't today's ultra-creative television industries do a remake, upgrade or a resurrection of Perry Mason?

I would watch.

Ray Collins, (Lt. Arthur Tragg)
Ray Collins, (Lt. Arthur Tragg)

"My apologies to Ray Collins (to the right) who was "Lt. Arthur Tragg,"

for almost forgetting to post his photo. One of my questions about Tragg was why didn't be ever receive a promotion? We all know why. But don't you agree that he was in a bad mood in every episode of Perry Mason.

And when he thought that maybe "this" week was the week that he scored big points with the "brass downtown," and actually keeping the person whom he arrested behind bars, we would see a devilish smile on his seasoned face.

I am sorry for your losing record, Mr. Collins/Tragg. But someone had to be the loser. But Perry Mason had two losers: you and Hamilton Burger, D.A. (William Talman).

I guess I can say it . . ."that's show biz."

Comments

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    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 15 months ago

      Great Hub we have family who love his old episodes

      now .thank Kenneth I treasure your hubs a breath of fresh air . I still have to catch up with your other hubs.

      love you my friend.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 15 months ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Enjoyed this, Ken. Perry Mason was a good show -- and Erle Stanley Gardener was a good author (radio and TV were dramatically better back then compared to the garbage we're offered today.) Raymond Burr was perfect for the role and Talman was an excellent foil. Maybe some day radio and TV will make a comeback. I hope so.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 14 months ago from Northern Ireland

      I used to love watching Perry Mason too, when they brought it across to the UK. Great show and you have asked many of the questions I always wondered too!

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 14 months ago from Canada

      Hi Kenneth, My Mom was crazy about this show (and Dr. Kildare too). Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories.

    • profile image

      Kenneth Avery 14 months ago

      Dear Kaili,

      Hello up there in Canada. Would love to visit your country and you.

      Thank you for your sweet words. I really appreciate them a lot.

      Your Friend for Life,

      Kenneth

    • profile image

      Kenneth Avery 14 months ago

      Hey, DreamerMeg,

      Another sincere thank you to you, DreamerMeg, for your comment that cheered me up so much.

      I hope that something great happens to you in the next hour.

      Kenneth

    • profile image

      Kenneth Avery 14 months ago

      Love you too, My Dear Friend.

      I appreciate you so much for reading this and a lot of my hubs. You make my time spent on HP worthwhile. I am honest with you.

      Your words have power and you use them wisely I might add.

      Write me whenever you please.

      Kenneth

    • profile image

      Kenneth Avery 14 months ago

      William F. Torpey,

      I appreciate your candor in your comment.

      I am 62 currently and I am like you in that the material on TV these days is nothing more than trash.

      Not fit for the pigs if they knew what TV was all about.

      Hmmm. Maybe they do. I have always heard that pigs were very smart.

      Write me whenever you please.

    • profile image

      Mark Hudson 14 months ago

      I vaguely remember an episode starting with Perry and Della in a car driving to a location in the country. Perry is telling Della that this man's office in the city is ultra modern and to expect the same in the country house. Della says she will be happy to curl up in front of a warm wall. When they arrive they find a very old fashioned house and have trouble understanding the difference until a robot appears who seems to do all the work. I have DVD's of all nine seasons of the TV series and have not found this episode. Does this actually exist or is my memory playing tricks on me?

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 13 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Mark,

      Thanks sincerely for your interesting comment.

      I am not wanting to offend you in any way here, but I do not recall any episode that showed a robot doing housework in a country house where Perry and Della were going. I am not saying it does not exist. I just do not remember that particular episode.

      May I suggest that you go online and contact a few Perry Mason Fan Clubs and ask them to do the research for you. Hey, I would like to know too.

      Write me anytime.

    • profile image

      Lin 13 months ago

      I have watched almost every Perry Mason episode. I don't think any of them were "modern" enough to have a robot. Maybe it was in one of the later made for tv movies that were made. We are fortunate enough to have an "oldie" cable channel that show Perry Mason every day. It was my favorite show when I was young and is still sixty years later.

    • profile image

      Dmarie 13 months ago

      I loved this show so much, that my husband bought it for Christmas last year. The whole series!! What great memories it brings back, as I can watch it now when ever I want. Thanks for the great article on a great show.

    • profile image

      Janice 13 months ago

      I loved Perry Mason show and the books. I also love Raymond Burr as Iron Side, that was a great show as well. too bad we didn't have that kind of shows now.

    • profile image

      Lou J Apa 13 months ago

      I am a fan of PM and especially the old, black & whites, series!

    • profile image

      Fran 13 months ago

      Great Show, I watch the re-runs every morning. Love it , Raymond Burr was fantastic, and all the others were good also.

    • profile image

      Sanchia 13 months ago

      Always saw this when I was a teenager & now watch the reruns every morning at 9 or at night. You might want to re view some of these because some questions have answers. Your article was excellent.

    • profile image

      GLORIA M. ORANGE 13 months ago

      I GREW UP WITH PERRY MASON ON THE RADIO, WHEN PERRY MASON WAS PLAYED BY A DIFFERENT ACTOR. BUT I LOVE PERRY MASON AND I THINK RAYMOND BURR WAS THE PERFECT PERRY MASON. THANK YOU FOR ALL THE YEARS OF ENTERTAINMENT.

    • profile image

      grace 13 months ago

      We DID see Perry's apartment, several times, in the series.

    • profile image

      Michael 13 months ago

      Nice article. To answer your questions I recommend reading Earle Stanley Gardner's biography called "The Real Perry Mason" which is excellent (but sadly out of print)- he was an attorney and actually employed the same Mason bag of tricks in his law practice. He once shuffled away a Chinese suspect named something like "Wong Duk" placing another person in their house whom the police promptly arrested. The papers the next day read something like "Police nab Wrong Duck".

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 13 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Michael,

      Thank you for stopping by. I would love to get my hands on that book and that trick was textbook.

      I loved how Mason (the TV character) is sort of like the prototype of Matlock in when he feels that "the" weakest person on the witness stand has made enough mistakes . . .he is like a shark in vocally tearing them up before the court's eyes.

      The prosecutor, Martinez, in the Jody whatever her name was, did mostly the same thing and it garnered big results.

      Write me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 13 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      grace,

      Well I did not get to see one show that had his apartment in the plot.

      Guess I missed more than I thought.

      Thanks for the comment and spending some time with me.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 13 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Gloria M. Orange,

      Hey, thanks a million for stopping by and leaving me such a nice comment.

      It is nice to know that there are still lots of PM fans out there.

      But I am left to wonder if one of the guys I posted on this hub might have made us think differently of Mason?

      Oh well. Time goes on.

      Write me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 13 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Sanchia,

      Hi. Thanks for stepping in to leave me your nice comment. And compliment. I did my best and without God's help, I would be staring at a blank screen.

      Write me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 13 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Fran,

      I hear ya! Thanks for stopping in to talk about Perry Mason.

      I am on Dish and I cannot find a network that carries Mason. Even TVLand.

      I wouldn't balk at Dish having an All Lawyer Network with all of the great lawyer shows such as LA Law, Perry Mason, Matlock and so on.

      Maybe that would be a great project for you to contact Dish on our behalf and mention that to them.

      What have you got to lose?

      Peace, my good friend.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 13 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Lou J Apa,

      Thanks to you too for your nice Perry Mason contribution. Besides Andy Griffith Show and I Love Lucy, this one, Perry Mason stands alone as THE lawyer show.

      I would watch it all of the time if some network on Dish would carry it.

      Hint!

      Write me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 13 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Janice,

      I agree with you 110%. Both Perry Mason and Ironsides were great shows. But on Ironsides, Mason/Ironsides was a bit harsh sometimes with Mark, one of his handlers. I guess that was in the writer's character development.

      Still loved it.

      Write me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 13 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      DMarie,

      You are one blessed girl to have the Entire Perry Mason series at your fingertips. Your husband is a great guy.

      My VCR went out some time back and I am saving my money to buy a good one from Walmart.

      Then I might seek a Best Buy for buying my own PM box set.

      Peace.

      Write me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 13 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Lin,

      I am with you on the robot thing. It might have been or not. I just did not see it and why would the writers roll the dice on putting Mason that far into the "space age?" LOL!

      Write me anytime and thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Michael 13 months ago

      There is a wonderful tribute to Perry Mason by Ayn Rand which is available in her "Ayn Rand Letter". She explains why she loved the show and why it was morally uplifting. It was actually this article that got me to first watch the show in the 1980's (as reruns of course).

    • profile image

      Susan Modeski 11 months ago

      Love your blog. I watch all the episodes many times. Some of the questions you asked were hinted at in several shows. Mason lived a nicely furnished apartment and in several episodes read legal briefs in his bathrobe, in front of the fireplace. His clients did leave him blank checks and some large check amounts were commented on by Street. Mason did vacation in several shows. He was fishing with Drake in one and was staying in a cabin in another. Mason's military background was mentioned briefly in two shows where defended one of his ex-military buddies and another client, suffered from a stigma of being a coward in the military. Mason proved the client was really a hero. If you look closely in one of the episodes, you will see legal awards that Burger had won, hanging in the office.

      The question I have is where did Mason find time to drop everything and take a walkin client. That just doesn't happen in real life. I would think that would be even more difficult for someone as famous as Mason.

      I hope they don't do a remake. Those are usually so disappointing. By the way, did anyone like the newer episodes of Perry Mason who was played by an older larger Burr and a blonde detective who was supposedly Drake's son?

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