8 riveting facts about Perry Mason
There's no doubt about it — people love Perry Mason. The courtroom drama was one of the top shows of the 1960s, racked up several awards and produced 30 TV movies that ran until 1995. What started as a series of mystery novels became a viable franchise thanks to the success of the television series.
One of the biggest draws was Raymond Burr, who has become synonymous with the role of the criminal defense lawyer who (almost) never lost a case. As much as he was an integral part of the show, the supporting cast and guest stars also provided for thrilling television.
Without Perry Mason,the courtroom drama as we know it may not exist. Here are eight things you probably didn't know about the myth, the legend, Perry Mason.
One episode was filmed in color.
There are 271 episodes of the court drama, and only one was filmed in color. "The Case of the Twice Told Twist" (season nine, episode 21) was a test for the tenth season, which was supposed to be filmed entirely in color. The show was canceled before that could ever happen.
Mason only lost one case.
There was never a case Mason didn't win... Well, except for one. The season six episode "The Case of the Witless Witness" opens with the jury handing down a guilty verdict to Mason's client. It's his only loss that wasn't reversed.
Two more episodes see Mason losing a case, but the skilled lawyer was able to reverse the decisions handed down by the jury.
The real 'Perry Mason' appears in the series' last episode.
Erle Stanley Gardner, the author of the Perry Mason novels and real-life lawyer, makes a cameo appearance in the show's last episode. In "The Case of the Final Fade-Out," Gardner plays a judge who presides over the second trial.
Burr had to lose weight for the role.
Burr's weight was an issue with producers, and the actor eventually lost a reported 120 pounds throughout the series. His weight fluctuated, however, and by the end of the series Burr has gained most of it back.
Burr remained loyal to the character for four decades.
After appearing as Perry Mason for nine seasons, Burr continued his portrayal of the lawyer for four decades. Burr appeared in 26 TV movies produced between 1985 and 1993.
William Talman was let go for violating his morals clause.
Talman was suspended from the series in 1960 for allegedly violating the morals clause in his contract. The actor was at a party that was busted by police, and he was charged with having engaged in indecent activities. Talman claims there was no wrongdoing, and he was eventually acquitted and put back on the show.
Burr originally auditioned for another part.
Speaking of Talman, Burr originally auditioned for his part of Hamilton Burger, the District Attorney. Producers like Burr so much they offered him the main part instead.
Fans thought Burr was the real Perry Mason.
Sometimes fans had trouble distinguishing between fact and fiction. One time during the show's run, a woman approached Burr and asked how was it he never lost a case. His answer: "But madam, you see only the cases I try on Saturday."