What did you think of "Perry Mason"?

I just finished the first half-season’s worth on DVD of Perry Mason, the classic 1957-66 CBS legal series, and I thought that it was kind of slow, but still pretty good. The release wasn’t bad either, in that the menus were simple and easy to use (just click on one of the outings and off it goes).

I was just wondering what others who have seen this series or parts thereof have thought of it.

I’d always heard of it, and then finally decided to watch it because its reruns seemed to come on just when I had a free moment. It’s one of those old shows that somehow stand up, despite–maybe even because of–their formulaic natures. In other words, it had something else going for it.

Great show-I watch it regularly. Despite being made for short money, its good. It’s also a neat look back at the 1950’s-everything was big! (Cars, houses, dreams). In the current depression, the 1950’s looks pretty good.

I used to watch it in the day, but haven’t seen it recently. Everything from then seems “slow” in our fast-paced, short-cut era; things were more leisurely then.

Kickass theme tune too.

That’s the one before his accident, right?

I remember watching it when it was first broadcast - my dad really liked it. I get a kick out of rewatching it these days. I saw an episode recently with Leonard Nimoy playing the killer (though you didn’t find out till the end.) Not the greatest acting in this series, but I’d rather watch Perry Mason than any of the gazillion versions of Law & Order.

If you’re referring to his role in Ironside where he was in a wheelchair, I think that was just a part, not a disability. Neither IMDB nor Wikipedia mentions any accident, nor do I recall it being a real disability.

“It’s Incompetent… Irrevelant and Immaterial!!!”
Hamilton Burger gettin his ass kicked by Perry all of the time… Great show… Paul Drake was soo badass… when they brought it back and had some dimwit as his son… terrible idea…

Great show… pace…story…

No, I know. I was just making an–apparently obscure–joke. Like, pretending I couldn’t separate TV from reality. :slight_smile:

Oh, OK. I get jokes…


I was in high school during the period when P.M. was shown, and one of my English teachers made it “required viewing” for all her students. She said it was the best thing on TV, and she may have been right.

My husband and I watch it every weekday, sometimes twice. (We have only broadcast TV, so we watch a lot of MeTV and AntennaTV.) I love Raymond Burr in just about anything, but he was really great as Mason. The stories were generally well written and enjoyable.

I don’t enjoy modern courtroom shows at all. Too much extraneous shit going on, too gimmicky. I guess I’m just “slow.” :wink:

I saw a few episodes many years ago when it was in what we used to call UHF. Subsequently, I’ve read more of the actual books than I’ve seen episodes. What struck me about the books that I found difficult to articulate for a long time is that the books don’t have the neatly tied-up revelations at the end like the TV show. Not only are witness stand confessions rare, it’s unheard of in the books for the plain truth to ever be known by anyone except the reader and Perry Mason.

You wouldn’t detect any cynicism in the way the stories are narrated, but I found the fact that the stories are rigged so that although Mason’s client is always innocent, the details of that innocence will lead to a conviction if presented in the wrong way, highly disquieting. Perry Mason’s job is then more to control revelation, and more often than not to conceal it altogether.

In the end, I do like it better than the much simpler relationship to the truth that you get in the TV show.

The vintage Perry Mason stands up a lot better than many other shows of its era (and compares well to later shows of the '60s and '70s). Not the greatest stories from my current perspective, but the characters are still enjoyable (including Hamilton Burger and the irascible Lieutenant Trask).

Weird note from an episode I saw recently - the accused murderess (a good-looking young woman) swims out to Perry’s fishing boat, resulting in a brief but revealing wet T-shirt type scene, which must have been pretty daring for circa 1960.

LOVED Perry Mason.

Didn’t watch it much when it originally aired. I was six years old when it premiered, and it was too “grown up” for me. My parents weren’t fans, and this was back in the days when a house only had one television set. It ran on Saturday nights, and there was generally something else to do from 7:30 to 8:30 on Saturdays. I do remember baby sitters watching it if my folks had gone out for the evening.

It wasn’t until I was in college, in 1969, that I became a fan. A local station ran it in syndication every afternoon, just about the time we got back from lunch. A dozen or so of us would crowd around the television in the common room of our dormitory and watch it pretty much every day. I was completely hooked.

I always liked Ray Collins (Boss Jim Gettys from Citizen Kane) as Lt. Tragg. “Lieutenant, I want to show you this .38 caliber revolver maked as Peoples’ Exhibit “A.” Do you recognize it?” “Yes, it has my mark on it!”

Eventually, we started playing “Bong Mason.” If Tragg said, “It has my mark on it,” you had to take a hit. If Paul Drake said, “There’s one thing I don’t understand,” you had to take a hit. If Burger said, “incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial,” you had to take three hits!

We were usually quite stoned by the end of the show!

I’d like to be on trial for murder, and defend myself just long enough to call the DA “my learned colleague”, and then call in Mason for the win.

After a while, I started feeling sorry for Berger. It’s not just that Perry Mason is beating you all the time, it’s that every single murder case you get handed has the wrong person on trial.

Yeah, but Berger could have found that out for himself if he had ever learned how to ask the right questions.

I love the show (and the theme music).

Another fascinating thing, especially in the books, is the number of times that $1000-bills are mentioned. It’s ironic in some ways how our currency face value has shrunk even as inflation makes it less valuable. Based solely on inflation, $500 bills should be more common than $20s.

Perry Mason was/is awesome. As a kid (mid-late 60’s) it used to scare me sometimes. For awhile the first season was free on CBS.com (minus a few episodes for some reason). I would watch one a day at lunch time. I was rivetted.

I love seeing the world of the late 50’s.

I wish the boxsets were cheaper.