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Compare & contrast HBO with Books, Raymond Burr, and other versions

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Here is a place to compare and contrast the HBO Perry Mason with the Erle Stanley Gardner book series and/or the old CBS series starring Raymond Burr, or any other versions that might be out there.
Maybe this thread would also be a good place to expand upon things like how characters compare with real-life counterparts from the 1930s (like Chubby Carmichael and Roscoe Arbuckle), but then it might need a new title. Or not.

This thread is tagged "no spoilers" just meaning no spoilers for the HBO series
--unless the group-think prefers to maybe also put major plot reveals for the CBS and books in spoiler tags? 

 


 

Edited by shapeshifter
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I am wondering why the new, HBO Perry Mason series is not titled "Paul Drake"?
Matthew Rhys plays the character named "Perry Mason" who is a private detective as was Paul Drake in the books and CBS series.
I also noticed that Matthew Rhys bears more resemblance to William Hopper, who played Paul Drake (wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hopper) than he does to Raymond Burr.

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7 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

I am wondering why the new, HBO Perry Mason series is not titled "Paul Drake"?
Matthew Rhys plays the character named "Perry Mason" who is a private detective as was Paul Drake in the books and CBS series.
I also noticed that Matthew Rhys bears more resemblance to William Hopper, who played Paul Drake (wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hopper) than he does to Raymond Burr.

That's an easy answer. Because Perry Mason is a waaaaay better name!

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1 hour ago, shapeshifter said:

I am wondering why the new, HBO Perry Mason series is not titled "Paul Drake"?
Matthew Rhys plays the character named "Perry Mason" who is a private detective as was Paul Drake in the books and CBS series.
I also noticed that Matthew Rhys bears more resemblance to William Hopper, who played Paul Drake (wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hopper) than he does to Raymond Burr.

Spoiler

As I understand it, this season is about how Perry, Paul and Della got their start in the roles for which they are known. By the end of the season, Perry will be the lawyer, Paul will be the private detective, and Della will be Perry's secretary. Apparently the season ends with them meeting the people involved in the crime in the first Perry Mason novel.

Incidentally, is it possible to fix the typo in the thread title (Raymond)?

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57 minutes ago, Domestic Assassin said:
  Reveal spoiler

As I understand it, this season is about how Perry, Paul and Della got their start in the roles for which they are known. By the end of the season, Perry will be the lawyer, Paul will be the private detective, and Della will be Perry's secretary. Apparently the season ends with them meeting the people involved in the crime in the first Perry Mason novel.

Incidentally, is it possible to fix the typo in the thread title (Raymond)?

Thank you! Done!

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One thing I definitely remember from the early novels is the casual racism: in the debut novel The Case of the Velvet Claws (written in the 1930s), Della tells Perry that locating a witness they were after would be like "Finding a n----r in a haystack". It was a little startling to read, especially when I was picturing Barbara Hale saying it.

Edited by Sir RaiderDuck OMS

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4 hours ago, Sir RaiderDuck OMS said:

One thing I definitely remember from the early novels is the casual racism: in the debut novel The Case of the Velvet Claws (written in the 1930s), Della tells Perry that locating a witness they were after would be like "Finding a n----r in a haystack". It was a little startling to read, especially when I was picturing Barbara Hale saying it.

What's even more startling to me is the realization that yet another figure of speech I have used ("like looking for a needle in a haystack") may just be a sanitized racist expression. 
A quick Google finds this n-word reference in  Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigger_in_the_woodpile
😧

I guess I'll have to read more of the book to determine the extent of the racism. For example, Mark Twain used the n-word, but did it in a way that to a large degree calls out racial inequality, IIRC.

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From the Chapter 1 thread (bold added by me):

7 hours ago, Sir RaiderDuck OMS said:

Gardner actually hand-picked Burr for the role: he hadn't liked any of the actors that the network had brought in to play PM, but Fred McMurray was leading. Burr, who had played the bad guy in several films, was brought in to read for the role of District Attorney Hamilton Burger. When watching Burr's screen test, Gardner stood up, pointed at the screen, and said "That's him! That's Perry Mason!" His PM novels during and after the TV show were obviously written with Burr in mind, as Mason's physical description and speech patterns were changed to more closely match Burr's.

On 6/23/2020 at 12:30 AM, J-Man said:

(There were also PM radio shows, but I've never heard them.) 

You're thinking of the radio soap opera Edge of Night, which included Perry, Della, and Paul as regular characters. When they made the transition to television in the 1950s, the series was split in two, with Perry, Della and Paul going to the Perry Mason series which was strictly episodic with no soap opera elements, and Edge of Night having those three characters renamed.

I remembered the title of the soap opera "The Edge of Night" from my childhood (probably from when I was home sick with measles and other "childhood" illnesses for which there were no vaccinations in the 50s and 60s) so I looked it up on Wikipedia (wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Edge_of_Night#Concept) and found this interesting bit: 

Quote

The show was originally conceived as the daytime television version of Perry Mason, which was popular in novel and radio formats at the time. Mason's creator Erle Stanley Gardner was to create and write the show, but a last-minute tiff between the CBS network and him caused Gardner to pull his support from the idea. CBS insisted that Mason be given a love interest to placate daytime soap opera audiences, but Gardner refused to take Mason in that direction. 

 

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4 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

From the Chapter 1 thread (bold added by me):

I remembered the title of the soap opera "The Edge of Night" from my childhood (probably from when I was home sick with measles and other "childhood" illnesses for which there were no vaccinations in the 50s and 60s) so I looked it up on Wikipedia (wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Edge_of_Night#Concept) and found this interesting bit: 

 

Wow, I had no idea Edge of Night had anything to do with Perry Mason!

Obviously Gardner never met Lupe!

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It is a minor thing, but one of the aspects of the TV show that I enjoyed the most were the episode titles. Just being Chapter One, Two, etc., does not compare to stuff like "The Case of the Vagabond Vixen" or "The Case of the Negligent Nymph."

The TV show had Perry as obviously polished and established in his fame, and it was a product of its time in that a) everything did revolve around Perry himself and b) race/sex/sexuality were 50s-60s broadcast norms. I was just watching an episode where there was a scene in a married couple's bedroom with the old twin beds. 

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm assuming that the show never delved into any of Perry's background beyond being a successful and famous defense attorney, any of Paul's background other than he owned a detective agency and any of Della's background other than she was Perry's secretary and cute. Like we never saw where any of them were from, how they came to be working together, anything about their families, etc. 

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44 minutes ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm assuming that the show never delved into any of Perry's background beyond being a successful and famous defense attorney

From Wikipedia (wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Mason#Character

Quote

...very little is known about Perry Mason. His family, personal life, background, and education are not depicted, although according to the first chapter of The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece (1935), his astrological sign was Leo...

 

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So I didn't realize until I started googling the character names, but I think the character of Pete Strickland is based on another Erle Stanley Gardner character: Pete Wennick. That Pete seems like a pretty close match for our Pete -- a morally flexible ladies' man of an investigator for an attorney named, yep, E. B. Jonathan.

I wonder why they changed the last name. It doesn't seem to be because they didn't have rights to the character, since they used E. B. Jonathan's name and he's from the same series of stories. It does look like there may only be one living person named Peter Wennick, so it's possible they had to go with a different name to avoid a potential lawsuit from that guy.

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27 minutes ago, Dev F said:

So I didn't realize until I started googling the character names, but I think the character of Pete Strickland is based on another Erle Stanley Gardner character: Pete Wennick. That Pete seems like a pretty close match for our Pete -- a morally flexible ladies' man of an investigator for an attorney named, yep, E. B. Jonathan.

I wonder why they changed the last name. It doesn't seem to be because they didn't have rights to the character, since they used E. B. Jonathan's name and he's from the same series of stories. It does look like there may only be one living person named Peter Wennick, so it's possible they had to go with a different name to avoid a potential lawsuit from that guy.

Maybe they changed the last name to signify that *this* is not your grandma's Pete?

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8 hours ago, Dev F said:

So I didn't realize until I started googling the character names, but I think the character of Pete Strickland is based on another Erle Stanley Gardner character: Pete Wennick. That Pete seems like a pretty close match for our Pete -- a morally flexible ladies' man of an investigator for an attorney named, yep, E. B. Jonathan.

I wonder why they changed the last name. It doesn't seem to be because they didn't have rights to the character, since they used E. B. Jonathan's name and he's from the same series of stories. It does look like there may only be one living person named Peter Wennick, so it's possible they had to go with a different name to avoid a potential lawsuit from that guy.

I read that description and to me it seemed that Peter Wennick was more like a Perry Mason type than Pete Strickland, since he is young and studying to be a lawyer. It also says that E. B. Jonathan is a crooked lawyer who would do anything to win.

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18 hours ago, AnimeMania said:

I read that description and to me it seemed that Peter Wennick was more like a Perry Mason type than Pete Strickland, since he is young and studying to be a lawyer. It also says that E. B. Jonathan is a crooked lawyer who would do anything to win.

Perry definitely got some of Pete Wennick too, considering he's also a "leg man" working for E. B. Jonathan, and maybe closer to being on a legal track himself. But personality-wise, Pete Strickland seems more like Wennick, in that both Petes are apparently impetuous cads with little interest in abstract ideals or niceties, unlike the haunted, morally conflicted Perry.

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Ch. 5 gave us our first vision of HBO's version of the fourth of the five cornerstone characters from Raymond Burr Perry Mason (RBPM) - Hamilton Burger. RBPM Hamilton Burger is THE district attorney who is the unluckiest lawyer to ever live: he prosecutes hundreds of innocent people who seem like they are murderers only to have Mason kick his ass and show that someone else is the true culprit.

Despite going basically 0-for in cases against Perry and all the implications of that, RBPM Burger is portrayed as a person of the highest integrity and a noble foil.

HBO Burger is a deputy district attorney who, not to put a fine point on it, helps Mason cheat his way into passing the bar because he hopes that Mason will beat the D.A. and thus pave the way for Burger to replace him.  

I think it is an interesting contrast with what it's saying about the nature of the system. The 50s/60s RBPM Burger is honorable and by-the-book, while HBO's Burger shows that everyone's got their hidden agenda and it's a rare person you can trust to do "the right thing."

So the last member of the main characters from RBPM to show upis Lt. Tragg. 

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45 minutes ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

Ch. 5 gave us our first vision of HBO's version of the fourth of the five cornerstone characters from Raymond Burr Perry Mason (RBPM) - Hamilton Burger. RBPM Hamilton Burger is THE district attorney who is the unluckiest lawyer to ever live: he prosecutes hundreds of innocent people who seem like they are murderers only to have Mason kick his ass and show that someone else is the true culprit.

Despite going basically 0-for in cases against Perry and all the implications of that, RBPM Burger is portrayed as a person of the highest integrity and a noble foil.

HBO Burger is a deputy district attorney who, not to put a fine point on it, helps Mason cheat his way into passing the bar because he hopes that Mason will beat the D.A. and thus pave the way for Burger to replace him.  

I think it is an interesting contrast with what it's saying about the nature of the system. The 50s/60s RBPM Burger is honorable and by-the-book, while HBO's Burger shows that everyone's got their hidden agenda and it's a rare person you can trust to do "the right thing."

I wonder if Raymond Burr Perry Mason (RBPM) Hamilton Burger prosecuting a seemingly endless string of innocent accused inspired the HBO writers to give a reason for this scenario, and even inspired the plot of Emily's plight.

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1 minute ago, shapeshifter said:

I wonder if Raymond Burr Perry Mason (RBPM) Hamilton Burger prosecuting a seemingly endless string of innocent accused inspired the HBO writers to give a reason for this scenario, and even inspired the plot of Emily's plight.

Were the people on the show falsely accused for seemingly innocent reasons? I never watched it.

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1 minute ago, sistermagpie said:

Were the people on the show falsely accused for seemingly innocent reasons? I never watched it.

Someone who has watched more recently can probably answer this better, but, as far as I recall, they were usually framed by the perps, which wouldn't necessarily sully Berger. But still, there were hundreds of cases like this, so... 🙂

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1 hour ago, sistermagpie said:

Were the people on the show falsely accused for seemingly innocent reasons? I never watched it.

The basic premise of RBPM is that there is a likeable sort who has pretty good motive for wanting someone loathsome dead (the client is being blackmailed, they're in love with someone else rather than their shrewish wife/cad of a husband, their business partner has been embezzling/cheating them etc.) and there is typically an eyewitness AND forensic evidence placing them at the scene of the crime around the time it occurred with access to the murder weapon,  all of which reasonably suggests the client is the culprit. The client always has means, motive and opportunity to have committed the murder. Perry cross-examines the witnesses and eventually gets one on the stand who he cross-examines till they either confess to the murder themselves or identify the real guilty party. Sometimes the real killer was deliberately framing Perry's client and sometimes it was just a lucky coincidence that the real killer kept their mouth shut about until Perry broke them down.

We are, I suppose, expected to suspend disbelief that this happened as many times as there are episodes (ETA - there are actually 271 as opposed to the 700ish I thought- I was way off), or the implications for criminal justice in L.A. (that, for example, at least some people tried and convicted by Burger who were innocent and yet sent to the gas chamber because they didn't have someone as good as Perry to prove a client's innocence or that the city of L.A. didn't oust Burger for his dismal performance vs. Perry/widespread prosecution of innocent people).

Edited by Chicago Redshirt
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from the Chapter 5 thread:

20 minutes ago, Chicago Redshirt said:
1 hour ago, Door County Cherry said:

This might be better for the comparisons thread but Earle Stanley Gardner's early Perry Mason wasn't above breaking the law so I don't think he'd take issue with how Perry got his law degree in this series.    

It's the Burr TV show that created this notion of Mason being highly ethical. And maybe that's what he'll develop into but this Perry is closer to the early book version of Perry.  

I happened to start watching RBPM from its beginning starting the same day I found out about HBO PM, and RB definitely cut some corners. Nothing quite as openly cheaty as getting answers from the bar exam to pass it, but definitely stuff happened that the show acknowledged might cost Perry his license (or might cost Paul Drake his PI license) or their freedom if they got caught doing it. (spoiler alert: he never was caught, as hard as Burger tried Wile E. Coyote would watch episodes and be like, "Dude, just give it a rest. You're trying too hard.").

He definitely had moments where he was living the distinction between what's legal and what's right that HBO PM talked about in this ep.

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1 hour ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

The basic premise of RBPM is that there is a likeable sort who has pretty good motive for wanting someone loathsome dead (the client is being blackmailed, they're in love with someone else rather than their shrewish wife/cad of a husband, their business partner has been embezzling/cheating them etc.) and there is typically an eyewitness AND forensic evidence placing them at the scene of the crime around the time it occurred with access to the murder weapon,  all of which reasonably suggests the client is the culprit. The client always has means, motive and opportunity to have committed the murder. Perry cross-examines the witnesses and eventually gets one on the stand who he cross-examines till they either confess to the murder themselves or identify the real guilty party. Sometimes the real killer was deliberately framing Perry's client and sometimes it was just a lucky coincidence that the real killer kept their mouth shut about until Perry broke them down....

Thanks for doing the homework and sharing with the class, @Chicago Redshirt!

1 hour ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

...We are, I suppose, expected to suspend disbelief that this happened as many times as there are episodes (ETA - there are actually 271 as opposed to the 700ish I thought- I was way off), or the implications for criminal justice in L.A. (that, for example, at least some people tried and convicted by Burger who were innocent and yet sent to the gas chamber because they didn't have someone as good as Perry to prove a client's innocence or that the city of L.A. didn't oust Burger for his dismal performance vs. Perry/widespread prosecution of innocent people).

I don't have any idea how many cases Burger would have prosecuted during his time, but if, say, it was "700ish," and at least 250 of the defendants were proven innocent by RBPM, then, not only was Burger batting at least (how do they say it in baseball?) 3 for 1, but with Perry inadvertently covering Burger's butt, Burger would have had a nearly perfect RBI average.
I don't recall a lot of animosity from RB Burger towards Mason--maybe that's why.  
And it might provide an explanation for Justin Kirk's Burger to be somewhat friendly with this new Perry. 
 

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In the OG Perry Mason, Paul Drake was an excellent detective (and he drove a convertible and had a phone in his car), and Perry always intuitively zeroed in on the real killer. Perry made some use of the law, but mostly he stared down the guilty person, threw some facts at him/her at just the right moment, and got the person to break down and confess, usually in court. I'm not sure how well that works on a true sociopath, however. 

One interesting thing about the trials was the lawyers' objections were always explained, as if the judge wouldn't know. People who watched the show got a sense of how trials worked, except with a lot of drama and excitement. As Court TV revealed, in real life, most trials are slow and rather tedious to outsiders.  

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On 7/22/2020 at 5:25 PM, shapeshifter said:

Thanks for doing the homework and sharing with the class, @Chicago Redshirt!

I don't have any idea how many cases Burger would have prosecuted during his time, but if, say, it was "700ish," and at least 250 of the defendants were proven innocent by RBPM, then, not only was Burger batting at least (how do they say it in baseball?) 3 for 1, but with Perry inadvertently covering Burger's butt, Burger would have had a nearly perfect RBI average.
I don't recall a lot of animosity from RB Burger towards Mason--maybe that's why.  
And it might provide an explanation for Justin Kirk's Burger to be somewhat friendly with this new Perry. 
 

You're welcome!

The thing is in real life today (and I have no reason to think it was much different in the 30s or 50s), prosecutors generally would get convictions on I'd guess well better than the .400 average that would make you a MLB  Hall of Famer if you could do it lifetime. My guess would be that on cases that go to trial, your average prosecutors would have be about .750 or better.  And even the losses would not be people who are factually innocent. Prosecuting even a handful of people who are later found not guilty is one thing, but people who are factually innocent is another. And having tried literally hundreds who are factually innocent should be devastating.

RBPM's Burger was a friendly rival to Perry. He definitely threatened Perry with prosecution for various times Perry bent or broke the law but never fully caught Perry in the act. 

 

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The formula for Raymond Burr Perry Mason was that the clients generally were good people who were being done wrong by the person who ultimately gets killed. Clients tended to have cheating  spouses, abusive relatives, scummy business partners/bosses/employees, brazen blackmailers, etc. The formula would have the client have forensic evidence and/or witness testimony tying to the scene and usually the murder weapon and to have known animosity toward the victim.

So it is interesting that HBO PM flips the script. Charlie is unquestionably innocent. Emily is sympathetic to some of us as modern people but has more hate put towards her than I think the entirety of the RBPM clients for the several dozen episodes I've watched. 

Different times meant different story telling styles. None of the characters in RBPM were fleshed out really, including Perry himself. So in terms of rooting for the clients, I don't think there was enough personality to truly be vested in them. Plus, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Perry would win. 

One of the things that interests me about HBO PM is there's a possibility of subverting all these expectations. It's possible that Emily is in fact guilty. It's possible that Perry will lose. It's possible that the killer(s) will get away with it. 

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6 hours ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

One of the things that interests me about HBO PM is there's a possibility of subverting all these expectations. It's possible that Emily is in fact guilty.

OOooo! I hadn't considered that--probably because this is a period piece. There are modern courtroom drama episodes (I'm sure L&O has had a few) in which the defendant is acquitted and then there's an eleventh hour reveal of guilt. Emily *did* act more crazy-pants in the last episode, as in seemingly having some breaks with reality that *might* go beyond grief and religious fervor.

If Sister Alice were not consistently shown in flat-silhouetted,  flapper-style dresses I would almost expect her to give birth to a "new Charlie." Of course, there could be a baby Sister Alice had before arriving in the Bay Area. 

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8 hours ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

One of the things that interests me about HBO PM is there's a possibility of subverting all these expectations. It's possible that Emily is in fact guilty. It's possible that Perry will lose. It's possible that the killer(s) will get away with it. 

Seems like it would be hard to have her telling people she feels like she's guilty because she indirectly caused his death in order to cover up that she is, indeed, the one who did it. Anything's possible, but it seems like it turns her into a real supervillain.

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RBPM (and maybe the books too) pivoted on a deus ex machina moment when things were looking really bad and new evidence shows up that will enable Perry to force a confession to save the client. It feels to me that Sister Alice's "resurrection" is somehow be that moment. 

Alice's mother and her suitcases of stolen church money will be ready to leave town before the big day, and she won't be the only one. Alice seems to believe her own hype, so I doubt she is scripting a phony staged event with smoke, mirrors, and altered photographs or bringing in an orphan to hand to Emily. This is all a little dramatic for the RBPM, but this new version of Perry is quite different. 

 

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I would be interested to see if someone tried to take the 8 episodes of HBO Perry Mason S1 and tried to recut them into a single episode (maybe a prolonged one) more in the style of RBPM.

It could possibly be easier to follow, better paced, and it could excise a lot of the "un-Perry-like" moments like him cheating to pass the bar and bribing a juror. The background about the romance and the church, the hiring of E.B., his suicide, Perry passing the bar, most of the courtroom scenes, the investigation into the church's finances, the closings and the verdict.

It would, though, also cost character development and pacing. There would be no Lupe, no flashback to WWI, no sideplot with Perry's ex and kid, no scene with Paul and his family getting chased off the beach, none of the Charlie resurrection sideplot.

I'm not sure if that would be better or worse.

 

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11 hours ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

I would be interested to see if someone tried to take the 8 episodes of HBO Perry Mason S1 and tried to recut them into a single episode (maybe a prolonged one) more in the style of RBPM.

It could possibly be easier to follow, better paced, and it could excise a lot of the "un-Perry-like" moments like him cheating to pass the bar and bribing a juror. The background about the romance and the church, the hiring of E.B., his suicide, Perry passing the bar, most of the courtroom scenes, the investigation into the church's finances, the closings and the verdict.

It would, though, also cost character development and pacing. There would be no Lupe, no flashback to WWI, no sideplot with Perry's ex and kid, no scene with Paul and his family getting chased off the beach, none of the Charlie resurrection sideplot.

I'm not sure if that would be better or worse.

 

And don't forget all that crap at the beginning with the Hollywood Movie Stars and Studio Producers. That really went no where.

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1 hour ago, AnimeMania said:

And don't forget all that crap at the beginning with the Hollywood Movie Stars and Studio Producers. That really went no where.

It did give us some gratuitous HBO-worthy nudity. 

But more seriously, I would not be surprised if one of the mysteries/THE mystery of S. 2 has to do with the studio. Either one of the stars that we saw or the studio exec is going to be either a victim or a defendant before too long. Somebody will rue the day that they stiffed Perry of $199 and beat him down. 

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from the Chapter 8 thread

9 hours ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

In  Raymond Burr Perry Mason, there was enough going on so that you could read whatever you wanted into the relationship.

AFAIK, there was never an explicit statement about Perry dating anyone, being romantically attracted to anyone (other than possibly Della). Some of the women of the week seemed to hit on him with no response. He definitely appreciated a good looking woman but it struck me that he did so in the way that you might appreciate a classic work of art, as opposed to with lust. Now that could be because Perry's only true love was the law (and pouring cans of whoop-ass on Burger). It could be because he was gay. It could be because he only had eyes for Della.

Perry and Della definitely were friendly, loving and supporting of one another, and banter with each other. Perry regularly went out to dinner with Della to pretty swanky places suggesting more-than-friends (sometimes Paul would join them). 

By contrast, pretty frequently, Paul would walk into the office and say "Hello, Beautiful!" to Della, checks out women, and has at least once talked about going on a date. 

Raymond Burr Perry Mason pretty much mirrors Raymond Burr's public persona with regards to his sexuality. 

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There's an early Burr episode where Perry and Della are on a cruise together. The reason is business, but there's a scene where they're leaning on the railing close to each other, and some intimacy is implied. 

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48 minutes ago, Milburn Stone said:

There's an early Burr episode where Perry and Della are on a cruise together. The reason is business, but there's a scene where they're leaning on the railing close to each other, and some intimacy is implied. 

--which is an example of OG Perry Mason reflecting Raymond Burr's (publicly) ambiguous sexuality:

Quote

...Later accounts of Burr's life explain that he hid his homosexuality to protect his career.[69] "That was a time in Hollywood history when homosexuality was not countenanced", Associated Press reporter Bob Thomas recalled in a 2000 episode of Biography. "Ray was not a romantic star by any means, but he was a very popular figure … If it was revealed at that time in Hollywood history it would have been very difficult for him to continue."[6]:119[d]

Arthur Marks, a producer of Perry Mason, recalled Burr's talk of wives and children: "I know he was just putting on a show. … That was my gut feeling. I think the wives and the loving women, the Natalie Wood thing, were a bit of a cover."[6]:100 Dean Hargrove, executive producer of the Perry Mason TV films, said in 2006, "I had always assumed that Raymond was gay, because he had a relationship with Robert Benevides for a very long time. Whether or not he had relationships with women, I had no idea. I did know that I had trouble keeping track of whether he was married or not in these stories. Raymond had the ability to mythologize himself, to some extent, and some of his stories about his past … tended to grow as time went by."[6]:214...
(wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Burr#Biographical_contradictions)

I wonder if the writers and project managers of 2020 Perry Mason even considered making him a closeted gay man.

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3 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I wonder if the writers and project managers of 2020 Perry Mason even considered making him a closeted gay man.

That, and also the converse of it: I wonder if TPTB behind the OG Perry Mason ever considered making him an actively hetero man. Pronounced straightness was typical for the detectives, lawyers, and private eyes in shows of the period, so Burr's Perry was exceptional in not having an unambiguous female love interest. Maybe they avoided it out of respect for Burr? Or didn't think he'd be able to play it? Or maybe he told them not to go there? Come to think of it, I can't recall a movie from the pre-PM period in which Burr had a girlfriend or wife that he didn't murder!

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9 minutes ago, Milburn Stone said:

That, and also the converse of it: I wonder if TPTB behind the OG Perry Mason ever considered making him an actively hetero man. Pronounced straightness was typical for the detectives, lawyers, and private eyes in shows of the period, so Burr's Perry was exceptional in not having an unambiguous female love interest. Maybe they avoided it out of respect for Burr? Or didn't think he'd be able to play it? Or maybe he told them not to go there? Come to think of it, I can't recall a movie from the pre-PM period in which Burr had a girlfriend or wife that he didn't murder!

Wasn't Gardener against Perry having romances? I feel like I heard that. Like that was the reason the soap wound up not being about Perry Mason (Edge of Night!) etc.?

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14 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

Wasn't Gardener against Perry having romances?

I think I read that too, but maybe that wasn’t really true, and was just a cover story? 

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1 hour ago, ALenore said:

I just saw the finale last night, and noticed a nice bit at the end.  The dialog towards the end when Della talks about their new client is taken almost verbatim from The Case of the Velvet Claws, the first Perry Mason book:

"A woman, who claims to be a Mrs. Eva Griffin."

"And you don't think she is?"

"She looks phony to me. I've looked up the Griffins in the telephone book and there isn't Griffin who has an address like the one she gave."

I think this was a nice nod to showing the beginning of Perry's "legitimate" career.

My public library has "The Case of the Velvet Claws," but I'm hesitant to go there just yet. 
Instead I've put myself on a wait list for another, "The Case of the Horrified Heirs," via the Open Library of the Internet Archive. 
Here's the link to Erle Stanley Gardner's works: https://openlibrary.org/authors/OL23222A/Erle_Stanley_Gardner 
Right now it seems most (if not all) are wait-listed, no doubt due to the reimagined TV series as well as the pandemic.

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