Saturday, May 21, 2016

Happy Birthday to Raymond Burr and Lee Miller!

So far it has been a very sad year for classic television fans. We've lost Patty Duke, Joe Santos, Alan Young, and our own Perry alumnus William Schallert. I dread to know who will be gone by the year's end. I'm still reeling from Alan Young's death in particular; I just learned of it today and he was so important to my childhood. And I'm really struggling with the browser tonight, for some unknown reason. I can barely do a thing with it. So I'm afraid this post is really short. (I'll do better next time. I promise!) But I couldn't let the day pass without some recognition!

Today we should turn our thoughts to happier things and celebrate the birthdays of Lee Miller and Raymond Burr, who were both such quintessential parts of Perry Mason. Raymond played our beloved lead as no one else could, and Lee was his stand-in of so many years. How many times did we see Lee from afar and not know it, I wonder? He was most likely more greatly involved with Perry than we even know.

Of course, Lee also played Sergeant Brice throughout many episodes, and while he usually interacted with the other police and suspects, he did occasionally interact with Perry as well. In episodes such as season 7's The Ugly Duckling, where they walk together and discuss the case, you can see how similar they are in body structure. It's easy to see how Lee was Raymond's stand-in for so long.

While he was Perry from a distance, however, only Raymond could be Perry in voice and personality. I find it both intriguing and ironic that I've been told Monte Markham put Raymond's portrayal down and insisted he could do so much better, yet when I've watched The New Perry Mason it is obvious that he is drawing from Raymond's portrayal and even downright copying it. Raymond's Perry is perfect. Even without meaning to, other people gravitate to it because he is Perry. No one else could bring the character to life as amazingly as he did.

Let's celebrate these classic birthdays by breaking out our favorite Perry episodes in which they both appear. I've been told that Lee Miller sadly died several years ago, unlike what IMDB reports. If this is true, I'm sure that in the afterlife, Raymond and Lee are still friends and perhaps even continue to act together. Here's to two wonderful people who made Perry Mason memorable!

3 comments:

  1. and Mr Ed himself, one of the best actors of any species, ever on TV, has been gone since 1973.

    I love watching Mr Ed & it's a delight to watch an episode with my 5 y/o grand-daughter. She just lights up when she watches Mr Ed & laughs & giggles so much

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    1. He was a very amazing horse indeed!

      That's wonderful that you can share the show with your grand-daughter! How special!

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