Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Perry Mason is a fictional defense attorney who originally appeared in novels by Erle Stanley Gardner and who was portrayed by Raymond Burr in a television series which ran on CBS from 1957 to 1966. The general plot involves Perry Mason unmasking the actual murderer in a final dramatic courtroom showdown. As such it is a highly unrealistic portrayal of the criminal justice system, and some of the structure of the television show was dictated by the motion picture and television codes of the 1950s which required an ending in which justice was served and in which the police and judicial institutions were not questioned (see Production Code). The title song, "Park Avenue Beat" by Fred Steiner , is one of television's most recognizable themes.
An unsuccessful attempt to recreate the series, named "The New Perry Mason", and starring Monte Markham , was made in 1973, but it only lasted one season. Burr came back with a very successful series of Perry Mason TV movies from 1985 through 1993.
The character also appeared in radio adaptations, comic books, and a short lived (October 16, 1950-June 21, 1952) comic strip. He was also the inspiration for The Whole Truth (1986) by James Cummins , a book length collection of sestinas.
Other characters in the Perry Mason universe include:
- Paul Drake - Perry Mason's private investigator (played by William Hopper on the TV series)
- Della Street - Perry Mason's secretary (played by Barbara Hale on the original TV series and the later TV movies)
- Hamilton Burger - District Attorney (played by William Talman on the TV series)
- Lieutenant Arthur Tragg - Police homicide investigator (played by Ray Collins on the TV series)
- Sergeant Arthur Holcomb - Policeman often featured in the novels
- The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (1937)
- The Case of the Black Cat (1936)
- The Case of the Velvet Claws (1936)
- The Case of the Lucky Legs (1935)
- The Case of the Curious Bride (1935)
- The Case of the Howling Dog (1934)
- (the TV series)
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