The 2020 HBO revival of Perry Mason introduces a jury – yet another significant departure from the original series. And not just any jury, but one with women jurors. Critics and self-professed historians have jumped to attack the show for its inaccuracy.
They claim that it was illegal for women jurors to serve in 1932 when the series begins but this is factually incorrect. California governor William Stephens signed the Women Jury’s Bill as far back as 1917. By 1932, the law was already well-established and firmly embedded into legal proceedings.
Perry Mason — Gay Icon
HBO released the Perry Mason revival in June 2020 which, coincidentally, is Pride Month. It might seem like drawing connections where none exist, but symbols contain deep meaning. Raymond Burr as Perry Mason was one of the first successful gay (but deeply closeted) actors to star in a lead role.
Mason may not be an Elton John or Lady Gaga-esque icon for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, but he’s part of the community all the same. Not many recognize his significance in the gay canon. It might be time for a new narrative about the suave Perry Mason.
Who Is Sister Alice?
Fans who’ve watched the revival will be familiar with Sister Alice, played by Tatiana Maslany. What’s her story, and is it based on true events? The character depicts controversial evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. Sister Aimee rose to fame during the 1920s for leveraging the radio to expand her evangelical mission.
Her weekly sermons were also performances – complete with drama, speeches, and music. In 1926, Sister Aimee mysteriously disappeared for five weeks. When she resurfaced in Mexico, she claimed she was kidnapped, but investigations indicate she may have gone willingly with a man who used to work for her.
That Vintage Camera in HBO’s Perry Mason? You Can Use It Today!
The newest Perry Mason interpretation stands out for several reasons. One is its reputation as a darker take on the original series. Another thing that seems to have stood out for audiences is the rare camera that Matthew Rhys uses in season 1, episode 2.
The camera in question is a Kodak Duo Six-20 – a model that launched in 1933, one year after the events in the show begin. The 620 film is no longer in production but camera enthusiasts can replace it easily with a 120 film. The only difference is in the size of the spool.
The Show Outlived Production Venues
It’s worth remembering that the show ran for nearly a decade, and most elements stayed constant during that time. All but one element, that is.
The show utilized three different studios. The early seasons were filmed at the William Fox Studios, which closed in the 60s. Production shifted to General Service studios before moving to the old Chaplin Studios, where production remained until the final season. That's what happens when a show outlives its studios.