The Perry Mason TV Show Book
The History of the Show

The Good Old Days

The show started out being about the 1950s and walked through to the mid-1960s. In early shows, bus stations were where people met; bus lockers were where they hid the evidence. Only later did airport sets come into vogue. Perry and the cast favored traditional 1950s wardrobes. On occasion, Perry would sport a bow tie, and once he even shucked his traditional dark suit jacket for a vest. He was sometimes spotted wearing a test-pattern print suitcoat, the kind that made viewers thankful that the episodes were shot in black and white. The characters had a preference for driving around in highend Fords--Lincolns and Thunderbirds. Perry also sported a Cadillac on occasion. Paul almost always drove convertibles.

In the later episodes, fallout shelter signs are quite prevalent, giving the viewer the impression of not simply visiting the late fifties-early sixties era, but of being trapped there. Perry, a World War II veteran who served on a minesweeper (as revealed in several episodes), took on the godless Communists on two occasions. In "The Case of the Weary Watchdog," he helped smash a human slave ring controlled by the Red Chinese. In "The Case of the Fraudulent Fraulein," Perry and Paul traveled to East Germany in an attempt to free a little girl the Commies were cruelly holding hostage.

Oddly enough, not all the Perry Mason fans lived on this side of the Iron Curtain. At one point, Radio Liberty reported that in the Soviet Republic of Estonia, families would crowd around their TV sets and tune in the show from nearby Finnish airwaves. By its eighth year, the show was being syndicated in fifty countries, the greatest foreign distribution of any CBS show.

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The Perry Mason TV Show Book Copyright 1987 by Brian Kelleher and Diana Merrill. All rights reserved. Presented here by permission of the copyright holder. Commercial use prohibited. Web page Copyright 1998 D. M. Brockman. Last edited 04 Nov 2004.