Perry Mason TOS and a mystery

I’ve been watching the reruns of the original TV series shown on the local MeTV channel. I loved this show as a kid. I didn’t understand a lot of it then but the courtroom dramatics were hypnotizing. The shows were mainly adaptations of the books written by Erle Stanley Gardner and the casting of Raymond Burr was decided by Gardner himself. William Hopper who played Paul Drake was originally considered for the role of Mason, while Burr was auditioning to play Hamilton Burger, the unfortunate DA who had to face Mason in court so many times.

There’s a lot of interesting trivia about this show and it would be great to hear people’s opinions and recollections. However, it is an odd part of an episode that led me to start this thread. In The Case of the Weary Watchdog Della Street (Perry’s secretary) is helping a friend of hers who is in trouble. She is driving the friend’s car when she is pulled over by the police who of course want to arrest her friend on a murder charge. When she emerges from the car, Della says “There must be some mistake, my name is Mrs. Brendon Street… Della Street”. It’s possible she says “Mrs. Brenda Street”, I can’t really tell. But I can’t find any indication that Della Street was ever married. To the contrary, she was portrayed as single, with a sexual tension between her and Perry, and occasionally Paul Drake. Is anyone aware of this episode or any explanation for this?

Interesting question. I don’t know. Maybe she was divorced? Or a war widow? :confused:

I would suggest possibly submitting your question to these people. The guy who runs this website really knows his Perry Mason stuff.

I always loved how he could get people to confess there sins right there on the stand.
I wonder if Perry was the inspiration for “A Few Good Men”? :smiley:

Possibly the actress misspoke herself? Or you misheard her?

I read the first Perry Mason mystery, The Case of the Velvet Claws, and in it, IIRC, Mason mentions that Della “came from money”, but had to become a secretary when her family lost its money.

Another interesting thing about the first one was that Mason gathered the suspects in a house and did a “You were the guilt one!” there, not in a courtroom.

The books, IIRC, are not always courtroom revelations. The TV show probably always was, that way they didn’t have to build other sets.

In the books there’s no mention of marriage, and nothing I can find about in the TV shows or movies either.

Thanks Earl, I will do that.

Don’t know. But the TV show was supposed to be the first use of the chalk outline around a dead body.

Misheard is very likely. My middle name could be Mondegreen.

The TV show has some non-courtroom conclusions. Sometimes they were in different courts, one show recently had the murderer revealed at a school board meeting. They did a lot of location shots also. The show was very successful and they went to a lot of expense to keep up the quality. Unconfirmed, but I’ve heard they built a house at the studio for Burr as part of an effort to keep him on the successful and lucrative show. One show had Mike ‘Mannix’ Connors stepping in as a friend of Perry’s while he was away. He was being considered as a replacement if Burr didn’t want to continue.

In general, these reruns are editted, there might have been a plot point cut out that explained it, or just something I missed. But Perry wouldn’t have approved of outright lying to the police.

A minor trivia bit, The Case of the Weary Watchdog had guest starts Phillip Ahn and Key Luke, regulars on Kung Fu TOS, as well as James Hong who frequently appeared also. Not surprising considering the dearth of Asian actors in those days.

By coincidence, I happen to have the Perry Mason Season 6 DVD’s. The exchange actually goes like this:

Police officer pulls over car.

Police Officer:
There has been an all-points bulletin on this car for the last hour. Sorry, Mrs. Brent, you’re wanted on a charge of murder. Can I have your driver’s license. Better get out.
Della Street:
I’m afraid you’ve made a mistake. My name isn’t Mrs. Brent, it’s Street, Della Street.
Music swells–end of scene. Fade to black.

Even George Takei was on an episode of Perry Mason! He got the girl at the end (though he probably wanted the boy).

You’ll see a lot of future stars in small roles on Perry Mason, just as you will on The Twilight Zone. Burt Reynolds, Ryan O’Neal, Adam West and Barbara Eden are just a few I remember off the top of my head.

Incidentally, in the show’s last episode, “The Case of the Final Fadeout,” the judge was played by Erle Stanley Gardner himself.

Ah! Thanks, mystery solved. I should have thought of that. The broadcast must be a bit choppy for me to be that far off.

Keep on with the Perry Mason trivia and memories, books, films, TV movies. The Monte Markham series didn’t go over well with me, or many other people either since only 15 episodes were produced.

Trivia: William Hopper who played Paul Drake was the son of notorious Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. He didn’t want to be an actor, he was pushed into it by his mother in early roles. He was a WWII Navy Frogman, an extremely dangerous and stressful job. Like many others he had alcohol problems following the war, and after some bad times returned to acting.

The EPG tells me Bette Davis will be on an upcoming episode, I’m a big fan of her later work. The number of shows and being an hour long drama made it great grounds for seeing both the up-and-coming and once-were stars.

You may not have noticed that Hamilton Burger would have been nicknamed “Ham Burger,” which is what Mason made him into each week.

Perry never lied to the police; he just didn’t always tell the truth. :smiley:

Keye Luke was also Number One Son in the old Charlie Chan series.