Perry Mason - Season 1, Vol. 1

the character created by Erle Stanley Gardner
USA 19
57

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

Publicity Still

Television Premiere: September 21st, 1957 - USA and Canada

DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Paramount (5 single-sided dual-layered discs) - Region 1- NTSC

DVD Box Cover

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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
Video 1:33:1 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.

Sample Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• 'Season 1, Episode 1: The Case of the Restless Redhead
21 September 1957
• Season 1, Episode 2: The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece
28 September 1957
• Season 1, Episode 3: The Case of the Nervous Accomplice
5 October 1957
• Season 1, Episode 4: The Case of the Drowning Duck
12 October 1957
• Season 1, Episode 5: The Case of the Sulky Girl
19 October 1957
• Season 1, Episode 6: The Case of the Silent Partner
26 October 1957
• Season 1, Episode 7: The Case of the Angry Mourner
2 November 1957
• Season 1, Episode 8: The Case of the Crimson Kiss
9 November 1957
• Season 1, Episode 9: The Case of the Vagabond Vixen
16 November 1957
• Season 1, Episode 10: The Case of the Runaway Corpse
23 November 1957
• Season 1, Episode 11: The Case of the Crooked Candle
30 November 1957
• Season 1, Episode 12: The Case of the Negligent Nymph
7 December 1957
• Season 1, Episode 13: The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink
14 December 1957

• Season 1, Episode 14: The Case of the Baited Hook
21 December 1957
• Season 1, Episode 15: The Case of the Fan Dancer's Horse
28 December 1957
• Season 1, Episode 16: The Case of the Demure Defendant
4 January 1958
• Season 1, Episode 17: The Case of the Sunbather's Diary
11 January 1958
• Season 1, Episode 18: The Case of the Cautious Coquette
18 January 1958
• Season 1, Episode 19: The Case of the Haunted Husband
25 January 1958


DVD Release Date: July 11th, 2006

3 double slim keep cases inside cardboard box
Chapters: 4 in each episode X 7 = 28 in total

 

Comments:

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  

Gary W. Tooze




Sample DVD Menus

 

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Combing evident...

 

 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Paramount - Region 1- NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA