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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Perry Mason Redux

Who is your favorite TV courtroom attorney? Your favorite TV judge? What do you like about them? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 697).

I stream CBS shows of the past, including multiple seasons of Perry Mason. It is a special treat when Connie and I settle in for an episode which was first televised in the late 1950s. The original characters are all there including Della Street, Paul Drake, Lieut. Tragg, and prosecuting attorney Hamilton Burger. Perhaps the first thing that strikes today’s viewers are the social customs that have changed over the years, especially the then widely accepted practice of smoking tobacco virtually anytime, anywhere, by virtually everybody. The last show I watched portrayed a medical doctor who was frequently lighting up.

Connie and I can repeatedly view each episode, and this comes in handy because many of the shows introduce multiple suspicious characters whose names are briefly mentioned at the beginning and not referred to again until the dénouement (to make matters worse, these key characters often look alike). I become utterly confused as to who is who and who did what. I’ve watched the same show as many as three times to fully understand the plot and keep track of the characters. 

Paul Drake often plays an essential role walking into the courtroom with decisive new evidence that he confides to Perry Mason who happens at that very critical and suspenseful juncture to be standing before the court. Della Street is far more than a clerical secretary as she significantly contributes to the progress of the case. Lieut. Tragg is consistently skeptical and sardonic and Hamilton Burger is without fail ground up in the end like hamburger. Perry is always a prescient genius who grasps the outline of the case leagues before it unfolds.  I only wish it were true that there were such a man as Perry Mason.

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