Saturday, November 27, 2021

Perry Mason

 November 8, 2021|Personal

I've been binge watching the old Perry Mason TV show..  Binge may be pushing it because I've going through the episodes in order for several months.  And I have a way to go but I'm enjoying.  I like courtroom stuff.  

Raymond Burr is a great Perry...personable & smart. A gay actor who had to hide his life during this time although he was with his partner since they met in 1957, for 35 years until his death. From what I've read, his lifestyle was an open secret & did not appear to stop him from getting jobs, There must have been a lot of respect for him.  Sounded like a good guy.  I'm glad he found happiness in his life.  

Barbara Hale played Della Street, Perry's "confidential secretary".   Beautiful, smart, dedicated & had agreat wardrobe.  She did appear to work 16 hours a day & at first I hoped there was a Mr Street at home waiting with a glass of wine & a foot rub but apparently not.  At least Perry appeared to pay for every meal.  Della was in love with him but if there was more than a professional relationship they hid it well.  Too bad.

William Hopper played Perry's private investigator Paul Drake.  He found out all the secrets for Perry.   He always greeted Della with a "hello beautiful" which would probably get him reported to HR these days but Della took it as it was intended.  With affection but no other nefarious intent.   William Hopper was the son of Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper & a former Navy Seal who it sounded like he had some PTSD issues from WW II.   A very handsome man who smoked too much.

William Talman played District Attorney Hamilton Burger, Perry's court case punching bag.  I think he won one case but I haven't seen that episode yet.   They appeared to be friends outside of court & Ham called Perry to defend a friend once.  In court, Ham appeared a little hysterical & frustrated sometimes but I guess a losing record will do that to you.   BUT  the William Talman story was interesting.   From IMDB:   "In March of 1960 Talman made headlines when he was arrested during a police raid of an alleged "wild nude party" being held at the home of an acquaintance, Richard Reibold. The incident caused CBS to invoke a morals clause in his contract that cost him his job on "Perry Mason." The charges were eventually dropped after a trial that was closely followed by the newspapers and sensationalized by the tabloids. Talman always maintained his innocence, and following the trial the judge in the case criticized the police for arresting him. He remained off the show until December of 1960, when CBS reinstated him after a flood of fan mail from supporters." With the exception of the adorable Lt Tragg, I would have thought Hamilton & William the least likely for something like this to happen to. Proves you never know about people.  The picture above is William Talman.  I look at his face & try not to picture him wild & nude. 

Ray Collins played Lt Arthur Tragg, the lead homicide investigator.  He & Perry mostly had a good, respectful relationship & he had a little crush on Della.  And I had a little crush on Lt Tragg. He was pretty adorable.  From IMDB: Even though he was forced to quit playing Lt. Tragg on Perry Mason (1957) during the 1963-1964 television season due to his worsening emphysema, Collins' name was kept on the credits at the insistence of Raymond Burr. This was done not only to help keep his spirits up, but to allow him to continue to receive health coverage from SAG.

Last year, HBO did a 6 hour prequal showing Perry(Matthew Rhys)  starting out as a private investigator working for lawyer John Lighgow & then passing his bar exam, by hook & crook.  But he alway had Della who was just as kick ass as 1957 TV show Della, only in a different way.  And Hamilton had a hand in Perry's career.  It was pretty fun & a fun, interesting story.  I think they are doing a season 2.  I'm ready.  

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