The Perry Mason TV Show Book
William Hopper as Paul Drake

"A Growing Boy"
Son of Hedda. Bill Hopper spent much time and effort trying to get film work without help from his famous mother. Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

Paul fancied himself a connoisseur of fine food--and not so fine food. Truth is, he'd eat almost anything, especially if he was spending Perry's money. As Della put it, "This is the world's greatest detective when it comes to finding food." Once, she cornered him after receiving a bill from the Drake Detective Agency. "I can never understand how you are able to consume so much food, especially when you are on an expense account." Paul's reply? "I'm a growing boy." In "The Case of the Purple Woman," when Lieutenant Tragg confronted Perry, Paul, and Della in a restaurant with disturbing news about a case, it was so bad that Perry and Della immediately lost their appetites. But not Paul. He dug in as usual. How could he eat at a time like this? Because he was still "a growing boy."

Della and Perry got their revenge in "The Case of the Negligent Nymph." The threesome were eating at a Mexican restaurant. Although they warned him about the tamales, Paul hung tough, convinced he could handle his food like his women--hot. Big mistake. Paul felt as if he'd just eaten a five-alarm fire. The next time the trio stepped out to the same little hideaway, Paul decided to play it safe and order the ham and eggs. Della and Perry bit their lips as they watched Paul* pour what he thought was catsup all over his food. It turned out to be hot (no, very hot) sauce. The big guy got burned a second time.

Still, Paul was one for creature comforts--female creatures mostly. But just like Perry and Della, his sex life was also a bit mysterious.

On the surface, one would think that Paul was a real hustler, kind of a gentleman masher. Witness "The Case of the Curious Bride," when he could barely contain himself after going backstage at a dance troupe rehearsal to question some leggy witnesses. Or "The Case of the Ancient Romeo," when he smoothly sweet-talked a lady bank teller into giving him the scoop on some missing money. In "The Case of the Impetuous Imp," authoress Diana Carter was so enamored of him, she saw fit to dedicate her adventure novel to Paul. The title was The Amorous Adventures of Paul Lake, Private Eye.

Paul's eyes would pop out over the opposite sex with clockwork regularity. During "The Case of the Calendar Girl," he and Della were studying a photo of a bikini-clad client and discussing her narrow escape from thugs.

"The way I see it," Della said, "Dawn Manning got by, by the skin of her teeth."

"The way I see it," Paul said, "there's more skin than teeth."

In "The Case of the Carefree Coronary" we have evidence that when Paul scored, he scored big. Trying to solve a fraud case, Perry called Paul in on emergency duty. Paul, however, was working on a hot case of his own: "This better be good," he told Perry, "because I just tore myself away from a very delectable divorcée."

But sometimes he blundered, stumbled, and fell. In "The Case of the Candy Queen," he blew a chance to romance Perry's beautiful client, Claire Armstrong, owner of a large and lucrative candy empire. Claire was about to leave for a long trip and Perry and Della were seeing her off when Paul showed up with a farewell gift, something he thought she just couldn't get enough of. yet another box of candy.

When Perry won "The Case of the Shapely Shadow," it gave Paul the opportunity he needed to invite the sexy client, Janice Wainwright, out to dinner. After all, the poor girl had been shut in and just came through a terrible ordeal after being accused of murder. But alas, Paul struck out again. Any detective worth his wolf whistle should know a dish like Janice would already have a date.

Was it that he was forever looking for the right girl? Maybe. We find a clue in "The Case of the Howling Dog." Perry asked Paul if he could find a good-looking brunette to impersonate a client. The lawyer went to great lengths to describe the kind of actress he wanted:

Perry: "Now, do you think you can find one just like that?"
Paul: "I've been looking for one for years."

We must assume that Paul eventually found her and got hitched. His son, Paul Drake, Jr., would show up in 1985 to help Perry clear Della of a murder frame-up in "Perry Mason Returns," and become part of Perry's new team.

* Webmaster's Note: Brad points out that, while Paul was distracted by the pretty dancer, it was the waitress who added the hot sauce to his food.


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.