July 21, 2024

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General Attorneys

Perry Mason, A Vote For the Defense

2 min read

Perry Mason, A Vote For the Defense

Add to that the fact that the overwhelming majority of members of Congress (both houses) possess law degrees and it’s easy to understand why they are so disrespected. But, lawyers who ply their trade on TV… they’re another story.

If your programming provider is treating you well, you may be fortunate enough to see re-runs of the great – and I do mean GREAT – Perry Mason TV show that dates way back to the 1950s. Each episode back then ran for a full hour… and the stories were always compelling, involving, incredibly interesting.

I didn’t get the opportunity to watch these shows more than fifty years ago, but I certainly watch them now. And, as I’m sure is true for every other viewer, I try to figure out the identity of the real culprit (it is never Perry Mason’s client) before Mason confronts and exposes him/her in the show’s climax.

The show, which aired in black and white in its early years – in color later on – starred Raymond Burr as Perry Mason, a California-based defense attorney who always beat the local District Attorney, a man named Hamilton Burger. Mason’s secretary and do-everything “gal Friday” was a woman named Della Street. There were no romantic sparks between them, probably because the show took place in the 1950s, well before sexuality and male/female relationships became an important component of TV programming.

Interestingly, Canadian-born Raymond Burr had been a character actor in movies before landing the plum role of Perry Mason and had, for the most part, performed “bad guy” roles. As Perry Mason, of course, Raymond Burr became the ultimate or quintessential “good guy.”

Each episode began with a murder and with Mason’s soon-to-be client (the one with the motive) singled out as the primary suspect. Week after week, it looked bleak, kind of like an “open-and-shut” case for the District Attorney, until Perry Mason decided to represent the accused.

Inevitably, Perry Mason would seem baffled and his client would appear to be doomed… until the final courtroom confrontation between the great attorney and the real criminal took place. It was tense, exciting… and the first-ever TV program that took place primarily inside a courtroom (no “run-and-shoot” action, just lots of talking) to gain a national audience.

I’m glad that my programming provider has brought back older shows like “Perry Mason” so that I can enjoy the kind of entertainment that doesn’t exist today. When it comes to the legal profession, I’m definitely voting for the defense.

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