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dave jenkins
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« on: April 03, 2015, 08:00:45 AM »

Noir TV!
Every week they followed the same template: a guest victim is introduced, then murdered. An innocent man or woman is arrested (“He was dead when I walked in!”) and Perry (Raymond Burr) agrees to defend him/her. Perry’s dutiful secretary, Della Street ( Barbara Hale), takes notes.  While PI Paul Drake (William Hopper) investigates at Perry’s behest, Perry goes into court and stalls. When the solution emerges, Perry manipulates the guest perp into a dramatic courtroom confession.

Empanelling a jury every week was expensive, so the show hit upon the expediency of getting the whole case handled at the pre lim. Occasionally, though, cases went to jury trial.

The series hit the ground running. The first season was the best and little by little the venture ran out of steam. By the final seasons, they were padding episodes and cannibalizing plots from earlier in the run.

Some of the following info comes courtesy of the excellent site:   http://www.perrymasontvseries.com/wiki/ 

Perry Mason’s Greatest Hits  (according to Jenkins)    Includes the original U.S. airdates.

Season One
The Case of the Crimson Kiss (11/09/57) –Roommates and doped cocoa.  Joi Lansing does a bit.

The Case of the Runaway Corpse (11/23/57) –Victim dies, runs away, dies a second time. Directed by Christian Nyby.

The Case of the Crooked Candle (11/30/57) –Double life, single death. That crooked candle clue is clever. Whit Bissell appears.

The Case of the Negligent Nymph  (12/07/57) – Seaside shenanigans.  Guest nymph: Peggie Castle.  Huba huba!

The Case of the Cautious Coquette (01/18/58) –A plot so convoluted, you’ll marvel  a single 52-minute episode can contain it. Includes an amusing stick-it-to-the-insurance-adjuster ending.

The Case of the Haunted Husband  (01/25/58) –Featuring Karen Steele’s two greatest assets.
 
The Case of the Lonely Heiress (02/01/58) –A flim-flam artist gets flm-flammed. Twice. Guest con man: L.Q. Jones (playing “Country Boy” Baker).

The Case of the One-Eyed Witness (02/22/58) – A plot so convoluted, you’ll marvel  a single 52-minute episode can contain it. Guest defendant: Angie Dickinson.
 
The Case of the Empty Tin (03/08/58) –Two female claimants to an inheritance. One becomes Mason’s client; interestingly, the other woman is not a schemer. Warren Stevens! Benson Fong!

The Case of the Daring Decoy (03/29/58)–Includes the bit with the elevator operator who identifies people by their shoes. Marie Windsor guests.

The Case of the Lazy Lover (05/31/58) –A map of footsteps, to and from the crime scene, is used in court. Guest victim: Neil Hamilton. Guest step-daughter: Yvonne Craig.  (A Batman TV show reunion years before there was a Batman TV show!)

The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde (06/14/58) – Beside the woman of the title, there are 3 additional blondes in the story, some sort of record for the series. Guest blowhard: R.G. Armstrong.

The Case of the Terrified Typist (06/21/58) –A rare example of Perry losing a case (with a twist, of course). JURY TRIAL.

Season Two
The Case of the Purple Woman (11/22/58) -Art forgery fun.  A Making Of (final day of shooting) was written up for TV Guide: http://www.gloubik.info/burr/anglais/TV-Guide-2-21-59.html

The Case of the Perjured Parrot (12/20/58) -The reliability of eye witness accounts is placed in doubt with this example of fraudulent “testimony” supplied by a bird.

The Case of the Shattered Dream (1/3/59) -A diamond swindle provides a prelude to murder.

The Case of the Footloose Doll
(1/24/59) -When will they learn? Switching identities always causes more harm than good. Guest eye-candy:  Ruta Lee.

The Case of the Romantic Rouge (2/14/59) – Guest defendant: future Happy Days mom Marion Ross.

The Case of the Jaded Joker (2/21/59) – Special beatnik episode. Jazzer Bobby Troup is on hand—as “Buzzie”—to finger the keys and lay down some solid jive. Frankie Laine, the singer of the Rawhide theme, also guests, as does Martha Vickers. The script does riffs on the dialog of some of the regulars: Tragg spars with Buzzie over what the musician is smoking (there’s talk of “tea”).  In court, after an exchange with Mason, Burger uncharacteristically comments under his breath. And there’s an amazing confession scene (where the perp doesn’t actually confess).

The Case of the Howling Dog (4/11/59) There’s a 1934 film version of this, starring Warren William as Mason.

The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom (6/13/59) Joan Tabor (as Jean Tabor)! Huba huba! And Neil Hamilton redux.

Season Three
The Case of the Garrulous Gambler (10/17/59) A luckless card player is conned into believing he killed a man. After the con is exposed the supposed victim turns up dead anyway. Includes an uncredited Luis Delgado (Officer Billings on Rockford).

The Case of Paul Drake’s Dilemma (11/14/59) –Perry defends Paul.  Jerry Goldsmith cues.

The Case of the Frantic Flyer (1/9/60) –Includes Bernard Herrmann cues, Simon Oakland, Patricia Barry.

The Case of the Wary Wildcatter (2/20/60) –A man kills his wife but Perry need not defend him. Barbara Bain guests.

The Case of the Mythical Monkeys
(2/27/60) – Louise Fletcher guests, as does Norman Fell.  Bernard Herrmann cues.

The Case of the Crying Cherub (4/9/1960) –More art follies fun.

The Case of the Madcap Modiste (4/30/60) –Fashion industry fun. Guest victim: Marie Windsor. Leslie Parrish is also on board.

The Case of the Flighty Father
(6/11/60) –Hayden Rorke plays the title role.


Season Four

The Case of the Treacherous Toupee (9/17/60) –Robert Redford appears as Callow Youth.

The Case of the Envious Editor (1/7/61) Guest victim: James Coburn. Barbara Lawrence is also around.

The Case of the Angry Dead Man (2/25/61) I just love the title of this one. Another story about a guy who dies twice. Gloria Talbott and Edward Binns guest.

The Case of the Blind Man’s Bluff (3/11/61) A man uses an eye operation as an alibi for a jewel heist.

The Case of the Difficult Detour (3/25/61) –Neil Hamilton yet again!

The Case of the Torrid Tapestry (4/22/61) –Art treasures burn—or do they? Either way, someone must die!

Season Five
The Case of the Jealous Journalist (9/2/61) –River rafting ends in death.

The Case of the Posthumous Painter (11/11/61) Painter fakes death to increase the value of his paintings, forgets to mention the scheme to his wife. Big mistake.

The Case of the Left-Handed Liar (11/25/61) – Murder in a health club. This features one of the greatest confession scenes in the series. Leslie Parrish guests.

The Case of the Shapely Shadow (1/6/62) –Barbara Lawrence sighting! JURY TRIAL.

The Case of the Mystified Miner (2/24/62) –Guest idiot: Kathie Brown.

The Case of the Crippled Cougar (3/3/62) –AKA The Case of the Interchangeable Gun Barrels. Barbara Hale’s hubby, Bill Williams, guests.

The Case of the Absent Artist (3/17/62) –Cartooning vs. Fine Art. Guest suspects include Victor Buono, Richard Erdman, and Arlene Martel (as Arline Sax).

The Case of the Promoter’s Pillbox
(5/19/62) –The sleazy world of TV production exposed! Snarky Femme: Dianne Foster. Bernard Herrmann cues.

Season Six
The Case of the Dodging Domino Elaborate Broadway intrigue—in Malibu! Ellen McRae (Ellen Burstyn) stars. David Hedison is also around. The music was composed and conducted by Van Cleave.

The Case of the Double Entry Mind (11/1/62) – Guest LA landmark: The Bradbury Bldg.

The Case of the Elusive Element –Special guest office device: the IBM Selectric. Human guests include George Macready and Gloria Talbott.

The Case of the Shoplifter’s Shoe (01/03/63) –Special guest murderer: Leonard Nimoy!

The Case of the Golden Oranges (03/07/63) –Special guest Ugly: Lee Van Cleef!

Season Seven
The Case of the Nebulous Nephew (9/26/63) Music composed and conducted by Van Cleave.

The Case of the Badgered Brother (12/19/63) Nancy Kovack! L.Q. Jones!

The Case of the Simple Simon (04/02/64) Backstage backstabbing with Victor Buono! Tom Conway! Malachai Throne! Doug Lambert! (who???)

Season Eight
The Case of the Reckless Rockhound (11/26/64) Ben Johnson! Audrey Totter!! Bruce Bennett!!! Elisha Cook, Jr. !!!! Jeff Corey !!!!! Ted de Corsia !!!!!! Doug Lambert! (who???).

Season Nine
Fug-ged-about-it!

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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2015, 03:32:17 PM »

What about the BR?

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2015, 07:38:35 AM »

What about the BR?
Huh ?

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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2015, 12:13:35 AM »

"The series hit the ground running."

You sure? I am currently watching the second season  (watched first season last year) and the first episodes are just as good as any other ones.

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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2015, 11:57:43 AM »

On balance I prefer the 1st season to all others, and the odd numbered seasons to the evens. But season #2 does contain my single favorite episode, The Case of the Jaded Joker.

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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2015, 12:47:19 PM »

How do you explain Ray Collins casting? I haven't checked Gardner's role in giving him a part, but no reason can rationally be produced for giving such an old and even older looking guy the part of an active character such as a police lieutenant. This is one of the greatest, if not the greatest piece of miscasting ever in a tv long-running series.

Another feature of the series that strikes me, all the more now that I watch the series on a big 140" screen is how big Burr and Hopper look. Ford said that Ward Bond was the biggest chested person he ever met, but did he ever meet or see Burr?

And then, yes, the jury is disposed of for budget reasons, but that is not a big problem. The greater problem is that the characters not belonging to the upper social echelons seem all to be able to afford themselves only a studio flat for midgets. That is something that disturbs my viewing and gives those scenes a claustrophobic slant at variance with the plot and characters.

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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2015, 01:30:29 PM »

How do you explain Ray Collins casting? I haven't checked Gardner's role in giving him a part, but no reason can rationally be produced for giving such an old and even older looking guy the part of an active character such as a police lieutenant. This is one of the greatest, if not the greatest piece of miscasting ever in a tv long-running series.
I think they thought they could get away with it at first, not reckoning maybe on how long the series was going to run. Eventually they brought in younger characters to help him out (Lt.s Anderson and Drum), and those youngsters in fact replaced him as he disappeared from the series (I think Collins actually died before the series finished). Still, I don't regret his casting, and most fans of the series enjoy him. He does the I'm-such-a-wascally-old-wabbit routine as well as anybody. And it's not like anything in the show has any kind of tie to reality anyway.

Quote
Another feature of the series that strikes me, all the more now that I watch the series on a big 140" screen is how big Burr and Hopper look. Ford said that Ward Bond was the biggest chested person he ever met, but did he ever meet or see Burr?
That's the way middle-aged American men used to look. Film usually used skinny guys for leads, but TV was more democratic. Fashions have changed, but I'm happy to report I'm keeping this particular tradition alive.
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And then, yes, the jury is disposed of for budget reasons, but that is not a big problem. The greater problem is that the characters not belonging to the upper social echelons seem all to be able to afford themselves only a studio flat for midgets. That is something that disturbs my viewing and gives those scenes a claustrophobic slant at variance with the plot and characters.
Again, Americans used to have a very different understanding of what conspicuous wealth looked like. It was always more important to own an impressive automobile than an impressive dwelling. But I'm sure if the budget had been better the show would have tried for better looking sets. Cheap-looking sets were pretty much industry standard for the time. Check out pretty much anything made for TV around the same period.

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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2015, 03:21:47 PM »

That's the way middle-aged American men used to look. Film usually used skinny guys for leads, but TV was more democratic. Fashions have changed, but I'm happy to report I'm keeping this particular tradition alive.

No, sorry. They look big like nothing else, especially Burr.. Just compare them to the other characters in the show. They're just big.

Again, Americans used to have a very different understanding of what conspicuous wealth looked like. It was always more important to own an impressive automobile than an impressive dwelling. But I'm sure if the budget had been better the show would have tried for better looking sets. Cheap-looking sets were pretty much industry standard for the time. Check out pretty much anything made for TV around the same period.

Well, a long time since I saw other series of that age (M Squad, The Untouchables and so on and never systematically). But  just a few years later The Fugitive (I saw first season last year) had  much better and varied locales. I don't know, but the impression of cheapness is peculiar to this PM series.

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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2015, 06:26:46 AM »

Well, a long time since I saw other series of that age (M Squad, The Untouchables and so on and never systematically). But  just a few years later The Fugitive (I saw first season last year) had  much better and varied locales. I don't know, but the impression of cheapness is peculiar to this PM series.
My memory has The Untouchables looking pretty cheap as well. The Fugitive started in 1963, so 6 years after PM began, and a lot can change in that time. My sense is that a lot more money started flowing into TV production in the 60s, making things like Batman and Star Trek possible. Also, The Fugitive had to spend money on locales because it was a film about a man on the run--no way could they just keep recycling the same worn out sets. Of course, they didn't have to spend as much on actors. PM required, in the nature of the case, large casts every week to support a decent suspect pool. Personnel costs are always one of the highest.

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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2015, 01:39:13 AM »

On balance I prefer the 1st season to all others, and the odd numbered seasons to the evens. But season #2 does contain my single favorite episode, The Case of the Jaded Joker.

For the gay subtext, I presume. Anyway, I didn't know Laine could play so well, a real surprise. 

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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2015, 05:46:59 AM »

For the gay subtext, I presume.
Ha!  Grin  That didn't even occur to me.  Embarrassed

No, it's the dialogue that makes this episode special. The final exchange between Buzzie and Mason is something unlike anything else in the series.

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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2015, 07:40:47 AM »

Ha!  Grin  That didn't even occur to me.  Embarrassed

Probably because is not so sub.

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No, it's the dialogue that makes this episode special. The final exchange between Buzzie and Mason is something unlike anything else in the series.

Agreed. But then add the SPOILER

ritualistic homicide. 

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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2015, 07:54:15 AM »

Agreed. But then add the SPOILER

ritualistic homicide. 
Right, that too.

Are you watching these with an English dub, or Italian?

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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2015, 07:59:51 AM »

English with english subs.

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