Sep. 21, 1957
60 min.
CBS TV Network

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Perry Mason tv show photo

Perry Mason

Perry Mason is an attorney who specializes in defending seemingly indefensible cases. With the aid of his secretary Della and investigator Paul Drake, he often finds that by digging deeply into the facts, startling things can be revealed and relying on his outstanding courtroom skills, he often tricks or traps people into admitting their guilt.

Trivia Facts | Top Quotes | Goofs/Mistakes
  • Even though for most of its run the show was filmed in black and white, there was one episode that was filmed in color, "Perry Mason" (1957) {The Case of the Twice Told Twist (#9.21)}. It was only shown the final season and wasn't syndicated with the rest of the package for over 20 years.
  • Due to illness, Ray Collins only appeared in a few episodes after the 1960 season. Collins had contracted emphysema brought on by years of smoking and he also was beginning to forget his lines and it was because of this he was forced to leave in the middle of the seventh season. Despite the fact that Collins was no longer on the show it was decided to keep Collins' name in the credits not only to help keep his spirits up, but to allow him to keep getting medical benefits from the actors union. Sadly, Collins died in July 1965 just prior to the start of the show's final season.
  • Raymond Burr originally auditioned for the role of Hamilton Burger, but was chosen for the title role instead.
  • Richard Anderson appeared in two episodes ("Perry Mason" (1957) {The Case of the Accosted Accountant (#7.14)}) and "Perry Mason" (1957) {The Case of the Paper Bullets (#8.2)}) as different characters before taking on the role of Lt. Steve Drumm in the final season.
  • When Raymond Burr missed several episodes due to illness, he was replaced by several guest attorneys who were played by Bette Davis, Walter Pidgeon, 'Hugh OBrian, Michael Rennie and Mike Connors.
  • Paul Drake's nickname for Della was "Beautiful".
  • Perry served in the navy and was stationed in the Pacific during World War II. This was where Raymond Burr was stationed.
  • William Talman was actually fired from the series after a party at which he was a guest was raided by Hollywood police officers. Although he denied any wrongdoing, he was released from the show due to the morals clause in his contract. Although the cast and crew persuaded the network to rehire him, it damaged his acting career. He worked very infrequently as an actor after the incident.
  • For "Perry Mason" (1957) {The Case of the Bountiful Beauty (#7.17)} and "Perry Mason" (1957) {The Case of the Fanciful Frail (#9.24)}, Perry Mason's office phone number was shown in a screen shot--phone book as Madison 5-1190. In "Perry Mason" (1957) {The Case of the Bullied Bowler (#8.7)}, Joe gives Paul the number: 271-2199. Paul repeats the number into the car phone, then exclaims "That's Perry's number!"
  • Perry's office was located in the Brent Building in downtown Los Angeles.
  • Perry Mason author Erle Stanley Gardner appeared in the final episode, "The Case of the Final Fade Out" uncredited as the second judge.
  • George E. Stone had the most credited guest appearances in the series with 45. He played the court clerk. Kenneth MacDonald and S. John Launer each had 32 guest appearances as judges.
  • Barry Sullivan was also a guest attorney, Ken Krammer, in "Perry Mason" (1957) {The Case of the Thermal Thief (#8.16)}.
  • During the series' original run, Raymond Burr was accosted in public by a woman who demanded to know: "How come you never lose?" To which Burr dead-panned: "Madam, you only see the cases that I try on Saturdays."
  • In some of the shows from the 1957 season, there was a product placement in the closing credits. A small octagonal picture would have a product, such as dishwashing soap. These can be seen on the DVD of the show.
  • Perry's car in the first season was a black 1957 Ford Skyliner. The Skyliner was a low-production car that had the first retractable hardtop in a mass-market American auto. Ford made them from 1957-59.
  • The auto sponsorship for the 1957 season swaps back and forth between GM and Ford, almost every other episode. Mason drives a Ford Skyliner, then in the next episode it's a black Cadillac convertible. Paul Drake's car varies between a Corvette and Thunderbird. Tragg drives a '57 Buick sedan, then a Mercury.
  • Perry Mason utilized three studios during its decade-long production schedule. The early seasons were shot at the old William Fox Studios, which 20th Century-Fox used as its television production branch. The Fox Studio closed in the early 1960s and the series moved to General Service studios for a time before moving to the old Chaplin Studios for the remainder of the series. The studio grounds can be spotted throughout the series.
  • Out of all the 271 shows, only three did not have the title "The Case Of The..." removing the second article "the". These were "The Case Of Paul Drake's Dilemma", "The Case Of Constant Doyle", and "The Case Of A Place Called Midnight".
  • On 11 August 2009 the US Postal Service issued a pane of 20 44¢ commemorative postage stamps honoring early USA television programs. A booklet with 20 picture postal cards was also issued. On the stamp honoring "Perry Mason" is a picture of William Talman, as district attorney Hamilton Burger, standing over a seated Raymond Burr, as Perry Mason, in a courtroom. Other shows honored in the Early TV Memories issue were: "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" (1952), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), "The Dinah Shore Show" (1951), Dragnet (1951), "The Ed Sullivan Show" (originally titled The Ed Sullivan Show), The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Hopalong Cassidy, The Honeymooners, "The Howdy Doody Show" (original title: "Puppet Playhouse" (1947)), I Love Lucy, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, Lassie, The Lone Ranger (1949), The Phil Silvers Show, The Red Skelton Show, "Texaco Star Theater" (titled "Texaco Star Theatre Starring Milton Berle" (1948), 1954-1956), The Tonight Show (which began as "Tonight!" (1953)), The Twilight Zone (1959), and You Bet Your Life (1950).
  • In most episodes, the climactic courtroom scenes were not part of a trial, but a preliminary hearing (a proceeding in which the prosecution seeks to show that there is sufficient probable cause to bind the defendant over for trial). There was a practical reason for this; since there is no jury in a preliminary hearing, the show would save the cost of hiring 12 extras to play jurors.
  • Paul Drake also drove a convertible, a 199 Lancia Aprilia Pinin Farina cabriolet.
  • SPOILER: Perry Mason didn't win every case. In fact, at least three decisions went against him: "Perry Mason" (1957) {The Case of the Witless Witness (#6.28)} begins with a judgment being handed down against Perry at the very beginning. This, in fact, was his only loss ever that was not reversed. The other two losses were overturned. In "Perry Mason" (1957) {The Case of the Terrified Typist (#1.38)} a jury returns a guilty verdict against Perry's client, giving Hamilton Burger goose bumps thinking he'd finally beaten Mason. Alas, Perry is still able to clear the defendant. Mason's most famous "loss" occurred in "Perry Mason" (1957) {The Case of the Deadly Verdict (#7.4)}. The show uncharacteristically opens in the courtroom. A decision is being handed down. Perry's client is found guilty of murdering her aunt for money. To pump up interest in this particular case, which ran in October 1963, teasers were released to the press that in September, the official beginning of the 1963-64 season, Will Perry lose his biggest case ever? It also pointed out that the big question was, can "Perry and his client . . . reverse the circumstances just before the final commercial" They did.
  • In at least one episode Perry Mason used a car phone. Although he would have to call the operator first and they were considered radios and not phones, they were in fact the first phones used in cars.
  • In the opening sequence for "Perry Mason" (1957) {The Case of the Tandem Target (#7.29)} in Season 7, Perry, Paul and Della are shown at the table in the courtroom, along with Hamilton Burger and Lt. Tragg! This must have been a very interesting case, to have Mason and Burger on the same side.
  • In most episodes, when the oath is taken by those taking the stand neither a bible nor the words "so help me God" are used.
  • Producer Gail Patrick initially had William Hopper playing Mason, but after Raymond Burr impressed her so much auditioning for Hamilton Burger, she cast Mason in the title role and demoted Hopper to the Paul Drake role.
  • Raymond Burr lost a reported 120 pounds for the role of Perry Mason.
  • All three principal supporting actors on the show died from smoking-related pulmonary disease. Ray Collins died of emphysema, William Talman of lung cancer and William Hopper of pneumonia after suffering a stroke believed to have been caused by smoking.
  • In August of 2016, a reboot of the television show was said to be in the works by HBO, with True Detective writer, Nic Pizzolato, as writer and Robert Downey Jr. in the role of Perry Mason and as producer.

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