Saturday, August 27, 2011

The mind of a ladybug is a strange and curious thing.

Hello and welcome to my mind! I have to say, I am very nervous about this venture. I've been on for almost eight years now, so I'm no stranger to blogging, but I use Livejournal more informally. This blog, rather than being a smorgasbord of whatever comes to me on any subject, is meant to focus solely on Perry Mason and all aspects thereof. Although it will be a smorgasbord of whatever Perry Mason thoughts come to me.

As I open this blog, I am nearly one month shy of my 25th birthday. Perry Mason has been a part of my life for over a decade, thanks to a wonderful and amazing local PBS station which plays many old television series. I remember countless nights of doing my high school homework while Perry was on. I would sit in the living room in my favorite chair while my parents watched the latest exploits of our favorite lawyers. I pretended to read, and sometimes I actually did, but I picked up more of the episodes' contents than I tried to let on.

It wasn't long before I started noticing some very intriguing things, mostly involving the interaction between prosecutor Hamilton Burger and defense attorney Perry Mason. They seemed to be seen together at lunch and dinner semi-frequently. Their exchanges outside of the hearings were often very relaxed and open, in complete contrast to their sparring, and Mr. Burger's frustration, in court. And sometimes they even discussed the cases and occasionally worked together to solve them.

Now, one thing about me that sometimes makes me an odd duck from most others: I have little to no interest in most romantic ventures in series or movies. (There are exceptions, but that's a tale for another time.) I prefer platonic relationships. Any time there is a fascinating bit of platonic interaction, my attention is captured.

And the platonic interaction between the two attorneys was and is fascinating! There are so many layers to their relationship. I began eagerly looking for such scenes and delighting in discovering more of them. (And of course, many of my future posts will focus on their connection, which I finally realized is a unique friendship.)

At some point which I don't recall, I finally acknowledged to myself that I was hooked. There were many factors; among them the mystery and suspense, and my growing fondness for every one of the main cast, but foremost was my total fascination in the above-described interaction. It particularly surprised me coming from Mr. Burger, considering how upset he often got during court. (We must have been in season 1, when plots came more from the books and he had even more of a chip on his shoulder at times.)

That night I looked up information on the series (or perhaps it was on William Talman specifically; I don't recall for certain) and stumbled across the wonderful website The Perry Mason TV Show Book, which is still in existence today. I read and read. And I was thrilled by the wealth of information. I also learned of two "Holy Grail" episodes, which from that point on I tried desperately to catch: Paul Drake's Dilemma and The Prudent Prosecutor. My interest in both of them was due to what the book said about Mr. Burger's behavior during their events.

I don't recall how or why it happened, but eventually I did drift. (It may have been during the time of William Talman's absence.) I no longer stayed to watch full episodes, although I often heard the episodes on from other parts of the house and smiled to myself at the familiar theme and the characters' voices. I often did catch parts of episodes, and occasionally complete ones, while performing various tasks around the house. And when we moved to a new home, Perry continued to be just as much a household name as before. I never stopped loving the characters, nor seeking to catch my "Holy Grail" episodes, but during that period I was taking it all for granted.

It was directly thanks to the great character actor Simon Oakland that I came back. Earlier this year I became deeply interested in his works. Of course, that eventually led me to his two guest-spots on Perry. With the DVD sets being released, and with our new Netflix subscription, I set out to get hold of those episodes.

I remembered what I'd read years ago about the point in time when William Talman was unfairly fired. I couldn't remember for how long he had been absent. At the time, I mistakenly thought it had been for several seasons. After I viewed Simon's episode The Misguided Missile on my disc, I planned to send the disc back without viewing the other episodes. Either that, or simply give it over to my parents if they wanted to see the others. I didn't have much interest in seeing the other episodes if William wasn't there. I felt, and still feel, that his character Mr. Burger is vital to the series. Both he and Perry are needed. Actually, all the characters are needed; I'm not looking forward to the episodes on our station where Lieutenant Tragg is gone. But I'll confess that Mr. Burger is one of my two favorite characters. (Perry being the other.) And without the dynamic of the two lawyers, the episodes feel particularly lacking.

I decided to research the other episodes on the disc. To my surprise, William was in all of the other three. So I determined I would watch them all. And when I did, all the old feelings came back in full force. I remembered why I'd loved the series years ago. I remembered the scenes I was fascinated by. And I renewed my determination to see those "Holy Grail" episodes.

I finally did. My wonderful station showed them at last when I was able to catch them. I was thrilled by both of them, but particularly The Prudent Prosecutor. And now I have a new "Holy Grail" episode, The Nervous Neighbor. I hope it won't take me another decade to catch it!

Currently I've been watching season 1 and what's up of season 2 online, legally at and Bing Videos. I've discovered some old favorites as well as new ones. And once again I've been making time for the episodes six nights a week on our station. We are in season 4, and I miss Mr. Burger highly. I'm looking forward to a season 6 episode on Saturday night. (Saturday's episodes don't follow the weekday schedule; they have their own.)

Despite still being a fairly steady viewer himself, my dad sometimes complains about what he deems the flaws in the series, such as the courtroom confessions and Mr. Burger's and Tragg's continuing arguments against Perry. I think he probably hasn't picked up on the friendlier scenes between the lawyers that captured my interest from the start. But regardless, in spite of whatever flaws the series may have, the good far outweighs the bad. Hence comes the title of this blog.

Objection overruled; Perry Mason is awesome. And I won't take it for granted again.


  1. The love you have for Hamilton Burger is so endearing and comes through in every word of this entry. Excellent! I completely share your love for the "Perry Mason" program.
    I really like Burger (and how he changes over time) a lot, and I'm so in love with Perry! But I've also been greatly enjoying Paul Drake and Lt. Tragg for about twenty years now.
    My all-time favorite darling character of the fabulous bunch definitely is Della Street though! Everything about her is beautiful to me. :o)
    So although my "holy grail" episodes surely differ from yours (yes, put some more of Della in it and I'm beyond happy), I must say that one of my faves is also "TCOT Prudent Prosecutor". I just watched it the other day and it's really amazing to see Perry & Hamilton interact on such "uncommon grounds", I agree. The professional chemistry between those two is a real treat to watch. And mind you, I'm your type of girly girl who prefers to watch some romance on top of the suspense, who gets all squishy inside when Della exchanges her flirtations with Perry and squeals when he poses as her hubby... *g*
    Anyway - I just wanted to say thanks so much for this blog and for celebrating the love that is this show. :o)

  2. Thanks so much for your comment! I hope to hear more from you!

    All the characters truly are amazing. While Burger and Perry are my favorites, I do love them all.

    I would be very curious to see an episode where Della and Burger interact a bit more than usual (and Burger and Paul, too). I've only ever seen Burger interact much with Della when he gets her on the witness stand (or during one-sided telephone conversations). And Paul, at least in season 1, seems to have more of an obvious dislike for Burger than the others. I really wished we could have seen more of a reaction from him when Burger looked so agonized having to prosecute him.

    I imagine The Deadly Toy is definitely one of your favorite episodes! ;) I really enjoyed that one, too; I like all the episodes that go "outside the norm" with character interactions. (And plot too; the whole concept of the little boy maybe being the one who fired the gun was so unusual for Perry, or any show at the time, to tackle.)

  3. "TCOT Deadly Toy" completely warms my heart! *g* How did you know?! ;o)
    Della with a kid always makes me gush but good grief, that episode... My perfect little Street family. *sighs*
    But the episode has a great overall plot, romance aside, I completely agree. So heart-wrenching and beautifully played by everybody involved. And what tickles little classics-trivia-crazy-me, the woman who was sent away to take care of the little boy also frequently guest-starred on another 1950s show I thoroughly enjoy because of its main cast, “Date with the Angels”, starring none other but sweet Barbara Hale's darling husband Bill Williams. *tada* :o) Small world Hollywood - gotta heart that.

    And yes, those “Della on the witness stand” episodes are absolutely fabulous IMO – especially because she gets to interact some with Hamilton Burger. I heart that a lot and always wish they could show his reaction, Della's and Perry's in the same shot. :o) Wouldn't that be great?! Coz I also always love to watch Della watching Burger interrogating the witnesses - there are some priceless moments of concern, amusement or surprise written all over her face. Always such a lovely addition to Perry's reaction - such a beautiful, talented cast, all of them. I'm really happy that they managed to get Bill Talman back. Great team effort! :o)

    And Paul really isn't all too fond of our favorite DA, is he?! Yes, I've noticed that and it always tickles me to find him so skeptical. He should really have included Burger and Tragg in that dinner invite after his trial. That would've been fun. And Della should really have gotten a chance to drop a tongue-in-cheek remark his way about getting persecuted in the first place. ;o)

    One of my favorite non-Della “out of the ordinary” moments is a Tragg moment btw – from “TCOT Prudent Prosecutor” actually. His reaction to Hamilton's relief at seeing Perry at the crime scene. *perfect giggle fit* Always gets me it's so funny! :o) And yes, I cannot say it often enough, Hamilton Burger is a real gem in that particular episode!

  4. How interesting! A small world indeed!

    It would make for some epic screenshot images if they could get all of the characters' reactions in the same frame!

    I haven't noticed Paul commenting on Burger much, if at all, in episodes following season 1. (Although, interestingly enough, he showed some sympathy in the epilogue of season 1's The Terrified Typist.) I'm wondering if he ever softened on his opinion. He did look amused, as did Della (or maybe Della looked more good-naturedly fond), in the last episode when Burger was too embarrassed and awkward to make his apology in person and had Lieutenant Drumm do it instead.

    LOL. Tragg was priceless in that scene. He had some classic expressions of bewilderment!

    The only thing I wish that episode had had more of was Perry and Burger working together to solve the case after the trial started. Burger should have been along when they performed the experiment in the cabin. And it would have been nice to have seen Paul's reaction to everything. But the final scene was awesome and epic.