Trivia / Perry Mason

  • Acting for Two: Burr in a season nine episode.
  • The Character Died with Him:
    • Ray Collins, who played Lt. Tragg.
    • William Hopper and Paul Drake. A photograph of Hopper appears on the desk of his son, Paul Drake Jr., in Perry Mason Returns.
    • William Talman and Hamilton Burger.
    • Subverted with Raymond Burr himself. After his 1993 death, NBC aired several more episodes with Paul Sorvino or Hal Holbrook playing a defense attorney friend of an out-of-town Mason.
  • The CSI Effect:
    • Real-life defense attorneys started to notice a "Perry Mason Syndrome" with juries becoming hesitant to acquit a defendant without a confession from someone else on the stand (the standard is, of course, reasonable doubt). Some prosecutors similarly noticed a hesitance to convict without a confession on the stand.
    • Viewers may not catch on for some time that most of Perry's "trials" are actually pre-trial hearings. They're held to determine whether or not there should even be a trial. Part of the reason it was done this way was to avoid having to cast twelve more people to play a jury.
  • Edited for Syndication: Some episodes apparently do not exist in uncut form.
  • Fake American: Raymond Burr is Canadian.
  • Outlived Its Creator
  • Playing Against Type: Raymond Burr was mostly known for playing villains and heavies prior to inhabiting the Mason role.
  • Real-Life Relative: William Katt, who played Paul Drake, Jr. in the first few TV movies, is the real-life son of Barbara Hale (Della Street).
  • Recursive Adaptation: First the novels, then the series based on the novels, then the Made for TV Movies based on the series... then novels based on the Made for TV Movies.
  • Recycled Script: Became somewhat common towards the end of the first series.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Narrowly averted in the case of William Talman, the actor behind Hamilton Burger, who was arrested for misdemeanor offenses and (though cleared of the charges) subsequently fired by CBS. A campaign led by his co-stars eventually got him rehired.
  • Star-Making Role: Perry Mason for Raymond Burr.
  • Stunt Casting: A number of guest stars filled in for Burr while he was recovering from an operation. Most did not fit this trope, but one was Bette Davis.
  • Trope Namer: The Perry Mason Method.
    • Invoked, almost in those very words, by punk musician/lecturer Jello Biafra in "Tales from the Trial", talking about his own obscenity trial in 1986. He even sings a few lines of "Park Avenue Beat".
  • Wiki Rule: www.perrymasontvseries.com.
  • Word of God: After Raymond Burr's death, it was revealed that Perry Mason author Erle Stanley Gardner himself had advocated Burr's hiring; neither he nor the producers were happy with the actors who had auditioned for the titular role (but were leaning towards Fred MacMurray). Burr, who had primarily played The Heavy in a series of low budget films, was invited to shoot a screen test for the role of Hamilton Burger. Midway through the playback of Burr's test days later, Gardner (who had never heard of Burr) stood up, pointed at the screen and said "That's him! That's Perry Mason!" The rest is history.
  • Write What You Know: Erle Stanley Gardner was an attorney.
  • Written-In Infirmity:
    • For awhile (around season six) there was a string of episodes that followed some associate of Perry's while the man himself was recuperating in a hospital room and was only seen in brief telephone calls. This was because actor Raymond Burr was recovering from surgery and couldn't handle the usual workload.
    • Burr played the role with one arm in a sling during four season eight episodes
    • William Talman (Hamilton Burger) showed up first with a leg cast and crutches, then with laryngitis, during season two.
  • You Look Familiar: Often in the original TV series. Mona Freeman and Patricia Breslin each played three of Perry's clients; Bill Williams (husband of co-star Barbara Hale) appeared in four episodes, in very different roles.
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