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Perry Mason - Season 1, Vol. 1
the character created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Perry Mason is an attorney who specializes in defending seemingly indefensible cases. With the aid of his secretary Della Street and investigator Paul Drake, he often finds that by digging deep, startling facts can be revealed. Often relying on his outstanding courtroom skills, he often tricks or traps people into unwittingly admitting their guilt.
Perry Mason was more than just the best courtroom television ever made. It ranks as some of the best TV ever broadcast. Raymond Burr was as solid as a rock, with Perry always outwitting crooks ,femme fatales and D.A. Hamilton Burger (how did he ever keep his job?). Perry Mason also brought dignity to being a defense attorney that has been greviously nullified in the modern world. Still, seeing his preparedness, quick thought and one of his sidekicks, Paul Drake, whom could conveniently dig up any fact no matter how obscure within record time - is still comforting. Della Street was pretty easy on the easy too. The frequently used salacious titles (Restless Redhead, Sulky Girl, Vagabond Vixen, Negligent Nymph, and Cautious Coquette) were always at a juxtaposition to the ordered and noble feel of the episodes.
I see, especially the early episodes, as having a strong link to Film Noir. The atmospheric criminal capers of the 50's, replace the overly seedy societal anti-heroes with white-collar crime and you have some of the most addictive television ever shown. It lasted decades in syndication acquiring new fans with each generation. Even 40 years later this remains undated. Some of the music tracks are by such luminaries as Jerry Goldsmith and Bernard Herrmann. This show still holds a strong appeal, fine performances, tight scripts and classically unique twists in the finale. A true gem of TV gone by. out of
Television Premiere: September 21st, 1957 - USA and Canada
DVD Review: Paramount (5 single-sided dual-layered discs) - Region 1- NTSC
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|Distribution||Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC|
|Runtime||Each episode is around 52 minutes X 19. Almost 16 1/2 hours of entertainment|
Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.18 mb/s (sample)
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby)|
1, Episode 1: The Case of the Restless Redhead
1, Episode 14: The Case of the Baited Hook
This represents some excellent value for the money. 16+ hours of classic TV. This collection includes the first 19 episodes from season 1 (1957-58) on five single-sided dual-layered discs. They actually did 39 episodes that first season but the other 20 will come in Volume 2.
I have a couple of niggling points to bring up. Firstly - these are not transferred progressively (see 'combing' in last image capture). They were not put to HD first and transferred digitally one frame at a time. It is an unfortunate trend that appears to be more frequently utilized in DVD production - most likely a cost effective deterrent. What it really means is that although they are mastered from the original elements and look quite acceptable (aside from very minor speckles in only a few episodes) - they are not as good as they could have been rendered. Another negative is that there are no optional subtitles - again a cost effective decision. Some episodes show a little more digital noise than others but it is not untoward. The bitrate is staggering low but contrast and detail are at acceptable levels - the non-progressive transfer means it is best suited to television tube (CRT) viewing. Audio is clean and clear. There are no extras at all.
A huge plus is that these are the complete 52 minute versions (syndicated versions have 6 minutes or more missing from each episode.) It is nice to have these on single-sided discs and 4 episodes per discs is great. Aside from the negative points this is still a thoroughly enjoyable series that I am thrilled to view at my leisure. Lets hope Paramount don't wait too long for the rest of season 1! out of
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