“But Mr. Mason, he was dead when I got there!”
There aren’t many legal minds as sharp, or court track records as laden with ‘wins’ as those of defense attorney Perry Mason. If you were accused of a crime you didn’t commit, this guy was the lawyer to get. Take out a mortgage on the house, pull all the strings you can pull, beg, plead, muster a torrent of fake tears—do whatever you have to do, but get Mr. Mason.
The Perry Mason character was conceived of by lawyer-turned-writer Erle Stanley Gardner in 1933. Mason appeared first in paperbacks, and then was the center of a CBS radio show, which transitioned to TV as a short-lived program called The Edge of the Night. And then, with a new cast and a new focus—the stories concentrated almost exclusively on the courtroom drama now, instead dividing time between the courtroom and the characters’ personal lives—Perry Mason sprouted up in his own self-titled CBS show.
After that memorable theme music sucked you in, the first half hour of the show saw the unfolding of a crime, whose culprit the audience never saw. Someone—usually the wrong someone—was arrested, and then the second half of the show took place in the courtroom. With the help of trusty secretary Della Street and private investigator Paul Drake, Mason entered the proceedings fairly well-equipped. But often, thanks to a last-minute clue ushered in by Drake, or a revelation that Mason worked out in the confines of that churning noggin of his, the crime was solved on the spot—while Mason was on his feet interrogating a witness and putting the puzzle pieces together at the same time. He was so good that he got most of his confessions when the culprits were right up there on the stand, and occasionally in the spectator section. He was also so good that sometimes, he got people confused and flustered enough to actually confess to crimes they didn’t commit.
Though his constant adversary District Attorney Burger tried his best, Mason won nearly all of his cases—pretty much from the moment our favorite one-man defense team spoke the words “My client is innocent, your Honor,” it was downhill for Burger. The poor D.A. had a brilliant nemesis and an unfortunate last name—some guys have all the luck, and others don’t have an ounce.
If Mason’s investigative wizardry went over your head, there was no need to fret because the show typically wrapped up with Mason, his trusty P.I. and his secretary recapping the ins and outs of their most recent case. After that, if you still didn’t get it, there were always the repeats.
The episode titles were usually alliterative and true to the character’s pulp fiction roots—“The Case of the Treacherous Toupee,” for example, or “The Case of the Bountiful Beauty.” Actor Raymond Burr was so heavily used in the show and the schedule was so taxing that he often lived in a trailer near the set during filming, and had to use a teleprompter inside the courtroom for his endless and verbose inquisitions. A few years after the show went off the air in its original run, a new cast assembled for The New Perry Mason Show—and since Raymond Burr was solving crimes in Ironside, the crime-solving barrister extraordinaire was played by Monte Markham.
USA / CBS – Paisano Prod. / 271×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 21 September 1957 – 4 September 1966 The New Perry Mason aired September 1973 – 27 January 1974
Creator: Erle Stanley Gardner / Music: Richard Shore, Fred Steiner / Executive Producers: Gail Patrick Johnson, Arthur Marks
Raymond Burr as Perry Mason
Barbara Hale as Della Street
William Hopper as Paul Drake
Ray Collins as Lt. Arthur Tragg
William Talman as Hamilton Burger
Richard Anderson as Lt. Steve Drumm
Connie Cezon as Gertie Lade
Paul Courtland as Margo
Karl Held as David Gideon
Lee Miller as Sgt. Brice
Wesley Lau as Lt. Andy Anderson
Perfect Christmas List, A (Lifetime 2017, Ellen Hollman, Beth Broderick)
In A Perfect Christmas Gift, as a last wish, a recently hospitalized grandmother, Evie, tasks her daughter and granddaughter, Sara, with a list of festive accomplishments to do together before Christmas hoping that the adventure of the experience will repair their relationship. Along the way, Sara discovers an unlisted Christmas adventure of her own.
Ellen Hollman as Sara
Beth Broderick as Michelle
Aaron Hill as Dr. Brandon Reed
Richard Karn as Tim
Marion Ross as Evie
Nicole I. Butler as Ms. Carrier
Lauren Nash as Ashley
Scott Thomas Reynolds as Photographer
John Burke as Dr. Taylor
Michael Gaglio as Santa
Ajgie Kirkland as Sam
Lyn Alicia Henderson as Fran
Yanellie Ireland as Katie
Tiffany Paige as Shopper
Rusty E. Frank as Dancer Brown Jacket
Director: Fred Olen Ray
Writers: Peter Sullivan, Fred Olen Ray,
Network and Production Companies: Lifetime – Hybrid
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday December 17, 2017 at 8.00pm
Copper’s End (ITV 1971, Bill Owen, Josephine Tewson)
Sitcom Coppers End was very much from the Will Hay (and Ask A Policeman in particular) school of comedy; When the series began the boys at the station led by Sergeant Stan Short, had the art of doing nothing down to a tee, so much so that they were even able to hire out their squad car for all manner of weddings, driving lessons and even stock car racing. All until the arrival of the super efficient W.P.S. Penny Pringle that is.
BILL OWEN as Sgt Sam Short
RICHARD WATTIS as PC Eddie Edwards
GEORGE MOON as PC Chipper Collins
JOSEPHINE TEWSON as WPS Penny Pringle
ROYCE MILLS as PC Dinkworth
GEORGE MOON as Ch Supt Ripper
Creator: Ted Willis
Producer: Shaun O’Riordan
Director: John Sichel
Network and Production Companies: ITV – ATV
Duration: 13×25 minute episodes
Aired From: 19 February – 14 May 1971
Conjugal Rights (ITV 1993-1994, Gwen Taylor, Michael Williams)
Sitcom Conjugal Rights detailed the ups and downs of middle-class, middle-aged married couple Gen and Barry.
GWEN TAYLOR as Gen
MICHAEL WILLIAMS as Barry
STEPHEN MOORE as Philip
CORDELIA BUGEJA as Gillian
MAGGIE HENDERSON as Pam
WARREN MITCHELL as Voice of Toby the Dog (Season 1)
CHRIS ELLISON as Voice of Toby (Season 2)
Writer: Roger Hall
Producers: Humphrey Barclay, Justin Greene
Network and Production Companies: ITV – Granada – Humphrey Barclay
Duration: 13×25 minute episodes
Aired From: 16 April 1993 – 17 June 1994
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