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Perry Mason (TV Series 1957–1966) Poster

(1957–1966)

Trivia

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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 O'Brian, Michael Rennie, and Mike Connors.
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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."
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William Talman was 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.
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Perry Mason served in the Navy, and was stationed in the Pacific during World War II. This was where Raymond Burr was stationed.
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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.
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Perry Mason author Erle Stanley Gardner appeared in the final episode, "The Case of the Final Fade Out" uncredited as the second judge.
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George E. Stone had the most credited guest appearances in the series with forty-five. He played the court clerk. Kenneth MacDonald and S. John Launer each had thirty-two guest appearances as judges.
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Raymond Burr originally auditioned for the role of Hamilton Burger, but was chosen for the title role instead.
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Fred Steiner, who wrote "Park Avenue Beat" (The Theme from Perry Mason) also wrote the theme for Rocky and His Friends (1959), an animated show about Bullwinkle (a moose) and Rocky (a flying squirrel) from Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.
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The auto sponsorship for the 1957 season swapped back and forth between GM and Ford, almost every other episode. Mason drove a Ford Skyliner, then in the next episode it's a black Cadillac convertible. Paul Drake's car varied between a Corvette and Thunderbird. Tragg drove a '57 Buick sedan, then a Mercury.
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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.
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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 twelve extras to play jurors.
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Perry's office was located in the Brent Building in downtown Los Angeles, California.
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Even though for most of its run, the show was filmed in black and white, there was one episode that was filmed in color, season nine, episode twenty-one, "The Case of the Twice-Told Twist". It was only shown in the final season, and wasn't syndicated with the rest of the package for over twenty years.
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On August 11, 2009, the U.S. Postal Service issued a pane of twenty forty-four cent commemorative postage stamps honoring early U.S. television programs. A booklet with twenty picture postal cards was also issued. On the stamp honoring this show, 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 (1948)), The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950), Hopalong Cassidy (1952), The Honeymooners (1955), "The Howdy Doody Show" (original title: The Howdy Doody Show (1947)), I Love Lucy (1951), Kukla, Fran and Ollie (1947), Lassie (1954), The Lone Ranger (1949), The Phil Silvers Show (1955), The Red Skelton Hour (1951), "Texaco Star Theater" (titled The Milton Berle Show (1948), 1954-1956), The Tonight Show (which began as Tonight! (1953)), The Twilight Zone (1959), and You Bet Your Life (1950).
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Out of all two hundred seventy-one episodes, only three did not have the title "The Case Of The..." removing the second article "the". These were season three, episode six, "The Case of Paul Drake's Dilemma", season six, episode sixteen, "The Case of Constant Doyle", and season eight, episode eight, "The Case of a Place Called Midnight".
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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 to 1959.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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For season seven, episode seventeen, "The Case of the Bountiful Beauty" and season nine, episode twenty-four, "The Case of the Fanciful Frail", Perry Mason's office phone number was shown in a screenshot phone book as Madison 5-1190. However, in season one, episode fifteen, "The Case of the Fan Dancer's Horse", Perry tells Paul Drake (William Hopper) that he is dialing Madison 5-1190, and Drake exclaims that this is the number for police headquarters. And in season eight, episode seven, "The Case of the Bullied Bowler", Joe Kelly (Mike Connors) gives Paul Drake the number: 271-2199. Paul repeats the number into the car phone, then exclaims "That's Perry's number!"
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Paul Drake also drove a convertible, a 1949 Lancia Aprilia Pininfarina cabriolet.
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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 role of Paul Drake.
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Initially, when Raymond Burr was selected for the role of Perry Mason he was sixty pounds overweight. Burr then went on a crash diet and lost a considerable amount of weight, and that helped him earn the role.
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Richard Anderson appeared in two episodes; season seven, episode fourteen, "The Case of the Accosted Accountant", and season eight, episode two, "The Case of the Paper Bullets"; as different characters before taking on the role of Lieutenant Steve Drumm in the final season.
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William Talman always insisted that his character, District Attorney Hamilton Burger, never took his regular losses against Perry Mason personally. For Burger, as long as justice was served, he was satisfied with the results.
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This show 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 while before moving to the old Chaplin Studios for the remainder of the series. The studio grounds can be spotted throughout the series.
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Talman's character was named Hamilton Burger as a joke, a word play on hamburger Ham (Hamilton) Burger.
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William Hopper initially auditioned for the role of Mason, but the producers decided he was perfect for the role of Paul Drake.
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Raymond Burr lost a reported sixty pounds for the role of Perry Mason.
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Among the actors considered for the role of Perry Mason were William Holden, Richard Carlson, Mike Connors, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and Fred MacMurray.
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Paul Drake's nickname for Della was "Beautiful".
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In the opening sequence for season seven, episode twenty-nine, "The Case of the Tandem Target", Perry, Paul, and Della are shown at the table in the courtroom, along with Hamilton Burger and Lieutenant Tragg. This must have been a very interesting case, to have Mason and Burger on the same side.
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In season four, episode twenty, "The Case of the Barefaced Witness", the address shown on Fred Swan's automobile registration, 1040 N. Las Palmas Avenue, Los Angeles, California, is the street address of the General Service Studios in Hollywood, California, one of the listed filming locations for this show.
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Although Lt. Arthur Tragg calls him Perry many times, Mason never calls Tragg by his first name.
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Paisano Productions, one of the production companies involved with this show, was formed by Gail Patrick Jackson (the executive producer of the show), her husband, and the creator of Perry Mason - Erle Stanley Gardner.
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In August of 2016, a remake of the television show was said to be in the works by HBO, with True Detective (2014) writer, Nic Pizzolato, as Writer, and Robert Downey, Jr. in the role of Perry Mason, and as Producer.
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Barry Sullivan played attorney Ken Krammer on season eight, episode sixteen, "The Case of the Thermal Thief".
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The first African-American actor to have a speaking part in Perry Mason is Bill Walker, who plays a night watchman in season three, episode four, "The Case of the Blushing Pearls".
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The end credits are featured over a different trio of random law books.
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One of this series' most often recurring motifs was emotionally overwrought female witnesses, ranging from pretty ingenues to biddies and busybodies, almost always wearing silly looking hats.
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William Talman (Hamilton Burger) and Wesley Lau (Lt. Andy Anderson) both died on the same day, August 30. Talman in 1968 and Lau in 1984.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Perry Mason didn't win every case. In fact, at least three decisions went against him: season six, episode twenty-eight, "The Case of the Witless Witness", began with a judgment being handed down against Perry at the beginning. This was his only loss that was not reversed. The other two losses were overturned. In season one, episode thirty-eight, "The Case of the Terrified Typist", 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 season seven, episode four, "The Case of the Deadly Verdict" The show uncharacteristically opened 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 to 1964 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, of course.
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Batman Stars Adam west Yvonne Craig Neil Hamilton and Victor buono have all guest starred on this show
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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