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Post By
Happy Hogan 

Location: Northern Virginia
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,170
In Reply To
Superman's Pal

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,228
Subj: Re: Perry Mason
Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 at 11:20:34 am EDT (Viewed 89 times)
Reply Subj: Perry Mason
Posted: Sun May 31, 2020 at 04:17:42 am EDT (Viewed 114 times)


    There's a new project, miniseries I think, coming to HBO about the character. Possibly in name only, he appears to be a detective and not a lawyer.

There's a link to the HBO series HERE.   It looks more like classic hard boiled film noir than the trend setting courtroom drama, but I expect I'll still check out a few episodes.

    Of course this sparks memories of the classic tv series with Raymond Burr. One of the few memories I have of my grandpa was sitting and watching the show with him. I watched it again later in my teens or 20s and was sort of amused by the formulaic nature if it. Surely in the real world not every client he took on would be innocent; he wouldn't win every case; and every case wouldn't end with him pointing out the true killer in the courtroom who would offer up an immediate confession. Still, I enjoyed the proceedings.

So did I. The TV series comes across as dated now, but still very entertaining for what it was. Its also fun to see who appears in those episodes. One had both Neil Hamilton and Yvonne Craig as I believe father and daughter before they appeared as such in Batman.

    I never looked much deeper into it but now that I do, I see the novel series it was based upon remains the #3 grossing novel series of all time behind Harry Potter and Goosebumps. Apparently the first novel didn't have a courtroom scene either, but all the ones that followed did. Maybe that's what the new show is going for.

I can't imagine Perry Mason without courtroom scenes. Erle Stanley Gardner had himself been a lawyer before writing the books and he often included legal trivia in those novels. He also played the Judge in at least one of the Burr episodes.

    I also didn't know there were a series of movies made in the 1930s before the Burr series. I also didn't know another fellow played him on tv between the Burr series and the Burr revival of tv movies in the 80s.

I saw one of the 1930s films, and it felt more like a 30s screwball comedy than a crime drama. I tried to watch another when I saw it on TCM but it didn't catch my interest long enough to finish it.

    Anyone else here familiar with any of the non-Burr stuff? Any recommendations?

The guy who played the TV Mason in the 70s was Monte Markham. The writers tried to add more humor, but it was weak humor and didn't land. Also Markham lacked Burr's commanding presence. Overall the revival series was forgettable, and only lasted fifteen episodes.

If you want more non-Burr Mason, I suggest reading the books. In the books he comes across as a bit more of a social crusader and has more of a sense of humor. Burr's only weakness as an actor was that he made Mason dry and humorless. That's looked at today as the definitive Mason, but I didn't see Burr's Mason in my head when I read the books.

It's my understanding that Robert Downey Jr. wanted to play Mason, and that's something that I would have liked to see. His blend of humor and drama would have worked well for the character I read.

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