Television Law: Perry Mason

Someone searched this blog for the titles of the books stacked up on the screen as the credits appeared at the end of Perry Mason. The answer: I do not know, I was a child sitting on my father’s knee scared by the ominous music that was the theme song of the show.

If you are old enough to remember, the show almost always ended with Mason successfully defending his client accused of some crime. Of course he was aided by witnesses who could precisely remember to the minute what they were doing and when they were doing it and a prosecutor who seemed destined to walk into every trap Mason laid.

Mason could also afford to have his secretary, Della Street, by his side during the trial, along with his private eye and paid muscle, Paul Drake. Drake would conduct discovery in the middle of the trial, driving around Los Angeles in his very large convertible and locating the surprise witness that changed everything in the trial. I am not sure what Della was doing there. What is really strange is my Dad ended up with a legal secretary that looked a lot like Della, but she never came to any trials.  Maybe someone had to stay behind to answer the phone.

Our firm couldn’t afford a Paul Drake. Sometimes we hired a private eye, but they were never as well-groomed and articulate as Sam Spade, Thomas Magnum, or Paul Drake. Instead they were almost always a Jacques Clouseau.

The show was in black and white. My son recently told me he believed that the world used to be in black and white, as all the old television and movies were in that medium. Then at some point color was discovered and the world changed. He is right of course, and I believe the year was 1968. Perry Mason was cancelled by then.

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