Perry Mason’s accomplishments in the courtroom are the stuff of legends. For most of the show, Perry never lost a case. Look closer, though, and you may find that a handful of cases were judged against Perry.
In the “Case of the Witless Witness,” Mason suffers his first case loss! In “The Case of the Deadly Verdict,” Perry’s client is sentenced to death for murder, but the slick attorney turns things around for his client. Setbacks and rising above them are marks of a legend, after all. Predictable would have been dull – even for the dashing Perry Mason.
Fans Weren't Big on Law
In the show, Perry Mason's winning streak was legendary, almost fantastical. That's because, if one must be a stickler about it, several elements in the show were hardly accurate from a legal standpoint. Fans without any legal knowledge adored Mason regardless.
One fan approached Raymond Burr, who plays Mason, and asked how the lawyer never lost any cases. Burr famously quipped, “But madam, you only see the cases I try on Saturdays.”
How Perry Mason Got His Name
Perry Mason was a household name in the late ’50s. As the central character of the "Perry Mason" novels and TV shows, he dominated screens and hearts. So, it may come as a surprise to discover the humble, almost endearing origins of the lawyer’s name.
Creator Erle Stanley Gardner spent his childhood reading "Youth’s Companion" which was published by a firm known as Perry Mason & Co. in Boston. It turns out that Perry Mason, the high-flying lawyer was an homage to his childhood. Now that's an origin story nobody expected!
Why the Jury Was Always Out
You may have noticed that this series differed from modern courtroom dramas in one crucial aspect: the ladies and gentlemen of the jury were conspicuously absent. How did America’s first definitive legal series get this so wrong? It turns out that the omission was actually a creative decision.
Perpetrators confessing their crimes was good television! It also meant the studio didn’t need to hire and pay 12 more actors. If you’ve ever wondered why most cases in the Perry Mason series reached only preliminary hearings, this is the reason why!
Perry Mason... The Soap Opera?!
Suave, sophisticated, and tough. To imagine Perry as anything but infallible would be a travesty. Yet, the character almost turned out very differently. Before the hit television series went on air, author Erle Stanley Gardner and CBS contemplated producing a soap opera adaptation of "Perry Mason."
That’s right – a soap opera that would be called “The Edge of Night.” CBS wanted Mason to have a love interest – but Gardner promptly refused. Could you even begin to imagine what that other show would have looked like?