Perry Mason - Season 3, 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 grievously 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.

 

I see, especially the early episodes, as having a strong link to Film Noir. (generally good people doing bad things for money.... or love). 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 (3 single-sided dual-layered discs) - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Available at a bit of a savings is the entire Season 1 - Perry Mason - Season One, Vols. 1 & 2 with all 39 complete episodes from the First Season of Perry Mason.

       

Distribution Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime Each episode is around 51:25 minutes X 12. About 10 1/2 hours of entertainment
Video 1:33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.58 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 (From IMdb HERE):

• Season 3, Episode 1: The Case of the Spurious Sister
Original Air Date: 3 October 1959
Bruce and Marie Chapman have marital trouble because of her compulsive gambling. After Bruce cuts off her funds and leaves town, Marie blackmails her former husband and his wife, Walter and Helen Sprague. She flies to Las Vegas to contact her former partner is a "sister" act, Virginia Hobart. When Bruce returns, he receives divorce papers from Marie, and consults Perry Mason. Bruce finds Marie's car at the bottom of a canyon near their home and identifies her body for Lt. Tragg, who arrests Bruce for murder. Perry wades through a succession of look-alike women and red herrings in solving the case.

Season 3, Episode 2: The Case of the Watery Witness
Original Air Date: 10 October 1959
Sleazy detective Fred Bushmiller questions movie actress Lorna Thomas whether she gave birth about twenty-five years earlier to a daughter who was put up for adoption. He has seen Lorna physically arguing with her business manager, Dennis Briggs, and tries to extort an admission from her. George Clark consults with Perry Mason on behalf of his wife Betty, insisting that she is Lorna's long-lost daughter. Betty interrupts an argument between Lorna and her producer, Tony Raeburn. The actress has delayed funding his new picture. Betty is abruptly dismissed and consults Perry. Lorna is killed, and George is charged with murder.

Season 3, Episode 3: The Case of the Garrulous Gambler
Original Air Date: 17 October 1959
At a beach-house poker game, Larry Benton accuses Mike Granger of cheating. They fight and Granger is killed with his own gun. Johnny Clay offers to dispose of the body. One of the poker players, Ben Wallace, tries to blackmail Larry, knowing that his brother is wealthy oilman Steve Benton. But the whole thing is a set-up because Granger is alive and in on the plot. Steve Benton confronts his brother with $20,000 of forged checks to Clay, then consults Perry Mason about the issue. Larry steals $20,000 from Clay to cover the forged checks, but Steve goes to return the money. He finds Clay dead and wipes off fingerprints. Discovered in the act by Wallace, Steve is charged with murder. Perry proves there is no honor among thieves in solving the case.

Season 3, Episode 4: The Case of the Blushing Pearls
Original Air Date: 24 October 1959
Hudson Nichols frames Mitsou Kamuri for stealing his wife Thelma's string of expensive blush pearls, but offers to absolve her if she breaks off her relationship with his son Grove. Young Nichols confronts his father and promises to marry Mitsou. Mitsou consults Perry Mason, who tries to intervene. Ito Kamuri, Mitsou's uncle, has made two sets of false pearls and is found dead, having apparently committed hara kiri. Perry and Lt. Tragg independently decide that Uncle Ito was murdered. Mitsou is charged with the crime, and Perry must solve the mystery of who has the real pearls.

Season 3, Episode 5: The Case of the Startled Stallion
Original Air Date: 31 October 1959
Disabled "John Brant" marries Clara Hammon, but the bridegroom is really Clara's lover, actor Earl Malden. Through a series of crafty moves, the real John Brant has gained control of everything Jo Ann Blanchard and her ne'er-do-well brother Terri have inherited. Clara is also having an affair with Terri. Now Brant wants the Blanchards' thoroughbred stallion, Spindrift, to race under his colors. Brant's ward, Peter White, is in love with Jo Ann and takes issue with the old man. Jo Ann consults Perry Mason, who finds that the horse is not covered by Brant's claims. Clara and Terri plan to murder Brant and blame Spindrift. Brant is found dead in the horse's stall, and Jo Ann is arrested.

Season 3, Episode 6: The Case of Paul Drake's Dilemma
Original Air Date: 14 November 1959
Donna Kress and Frank Thatcher have a spat. He will not divorce his wife. Driving home that night, Frank runs over and kills a pedestrian in the road, Alexander Collins. Under direction of old Henry Dameron, Frank's father-in-law, Tad Dameron, Frank's brother-in-law, takes care of the body. Frank, as "Danko," hires Paul Drake to deliver $25,000 to Collins' widow, but Paul finds out the gift is a set-up. Paul fights with "Danko" and is knocked out. When he revives, he finds Thatcher/Danko is dead, shot with Paul's gun. Paul calls Perry Mason and is charged with murder. He is further accused of blackmailing Thatcher with the hit-and-run incident. Perry fights Dameron money and influence in defending Drake.

Season 3, Episode 7: The Case of the Golden Fraud
Original Air Date: 21 November 1959
Sylvia Welles asks Rip Conners to bug her apartment and make a bogus tape as a joke. She invites her boss, Richard Vanaman, over to work on a project. Vanaman discovers the bug and makes threatening remarks, but Welles blames it on a jealous husband. Later, Vanaman realizes he has lost a special coin in the apartment and goes to recover it, where he finds Welles dead and flees. Vanaman consults Perry Mason about claiming an unusual coin that was found in a parking meter. When he tries to retrieve the coin, Vanaman is arrested. Perry and D. A. Hamilton Burger each use the fraudulent tape to prove his case.

Season 3, Episode 8: The Case of the Bartered Bikini
Original Air Date: 5 December 1959
Madge Wainwright, owner of an exclusive women's wear store, sees cheap knockoffs of designs she is selling for big bucks and complains irately to fashion house owner Wally Dunbar and chief designer Rick Stassi, who decide to scrap their previous work and create new designs with model Kitty Wynne as the focus. Madge and Rick were once an item. Wally is seeing Kitty, who also has a history with Rick. Assistant designer Lisa Ferrand wants Rick, but he spurns her. Lisa's husband, photographer and lush Bud Ferrand, shoots a series of Kitty in the new designs. Wally discusses design security with Perry Mason, who assigns the case to Paul Drake, who follows Kitty to Rick's house and finds sketches of the new designs in her car. Newspaper ads appear for a competitor with the new Dunbar designs. Rick is killed and Kitty charged with murder.

Season 3, Episode 9: The Case of the Artful Dodger
Original Air Date: 12 December 1959
Like Dickens' rascally scamp, Allen Sheridan cons everyone for his own benefit. He asks Joyce Fulton for money to pay a nonexistent gambling debt to Lou Caporale. He plans his get away under the name "William Wyatt." He lies about his birthday to his financial advisor, Victor Latimore, in order to secretly receive his inheritance. He flees to Los Angeles to escape Ralph Curtis, whom he injured in a fight in New York. And he hides from his penniless aunt, Sarette Winslow, to avoid paying her rightful share of his inheritance. Who wouldn't want him dead? Sheridan apparently flies to Mexico City as "Wyatt," but his body is found in Los Angeles. So who flew to Mexico? Sarette is charged with murder, and Perry Mason must sort out this mess.

Season 3, Episode 10: The Case of the Lucky Legs
Original Air Date: 19 December 1959
In Cloverdale, Utah Marjorie Cluny is chosen "Lucky Legs," but her boyfriend, Bob Doray, accuses the show's producer, Frank Patton, of running a bogus contest. Marjorie goes to Hollywood anyway and disappears. Her former boss, J. R. Bradbury, asks Pery Mason to find Marjorie and pursue Patton as a fraud. Marjorie is staying with Thelma Bell, a former "Lucky Legs" winner. Perry goes after Patton and find him stabbed to death with a wood-carving knife that belongs to Marjorie. She is arrested and calls Perry.

Season 3, Episode 11: The Case of the Violent Village
Original Air Date: 2 January 1960
Phil Beecher comes home from a year in prison for vehicular manslaughter of Aggie Norris, the sheriff's daughter. His wife Kathi forgives him, although the people of the town despise him. Charlotte, Aggie's sister, stops Deputy Sheriff Ward Lewis from beating Phil to a pulp, but her kindness is part of a plot to discredit Phil. Charlotte and the sawmill manager, Norman Thurston, invite Phil to the mill on a pretext. Charlotte is killed, and Phil is arrested for murder and theft of the mill payroll. By coincidence Perry Mason is vacationing in the village and agrees to defend Phil, putting him in conflict with his old friend, Sheriff Eugene Norris.

Season 3, Episode 12: The Case of the Frantic Flyer
Original Air Date: 9 January 1960
Howard Walters and his mistress, Janice Atkins, plan to rob Wade Taylor's company and fake Walters' death. Janice schemes with Roger Porter to double-cross Howard. Howard flies himself across country, calls in a bogus mayday, and crashes the plane in the mountains. He breaks his leg, however, and has to hole up for seven weeks with a prospector, Zack Davis. Carole Taylor, Wade's daughter-in-law, asks Perry Mason to find her husband Andrew. The crashed plane is found with Andrew's body, dead from a gunshot. Howard unexpectedly shows up at Janice's apartment but she thought he was dead. Janice sends Carole and Howard's wife Ruth to his motel. Howard is killed and Carole is arrested. Perry must follow the money to solve the case.


DVD Release Date: August 19th, 2008

3 double slim keep cases inside cardboard box
Chapters: 4 in each episode

 

Comments:

I've only watched a little over half but scanned through the remaining episodes to determine their consistency and lack of major flaws. I just don't want to rush through these as I'm enjoying them so much. If I do make note of anything unusual, I'll report it here in the next few days.

Paramount certainly don't seem to be doing Perry Mason fans any favors here. Season three has 26 episodes in total (Season one having a whopping 39!) but this Season Three Vol. 1 package has only 12 (less than half) and the price does not seem to reflect this vast decrease. It would seem a better idea to now releases the whole season in one fell swoop. No?

It amounts to about 10+ hours of classic TV. This collection includes the first half of season 3 (Oct. 59' to Jan. 60') on three single-sided dual-layered discs. The remaining 14 episodes should be on Season Three - Volume 2 on December 2nd, 2008 HERE.

Bad news is that, unlike Season One Volume 2 (which are progressively transferred), these are again interlaced with visible combing(?!?!?!). Paramount are really cheaping-out on us here.

 

Still, though there are no optional subtitles. Digital noise exists but it is quite minor and acceptable. As far as classic TV goes this has some amazingly sharp close-ups. Audio is clean and clear. There are no extras at all.

A huge plus (again) is that these are the complete 52 (roughly) minute versions (syndicated versions have 6 minutes or more missing from each episode.) It is nice to have these on single-sided discs all in one standard transparent keep cases. The series writing is still strong in season three but the star power had diminished with no 'major' future names aside from the likes of television regulars Steve Brodie, Benson Fong, and George Takei (Mr. Sulu!). Still, I've enjoyed what I have seen so far.

As the series goes on - it seems to have plateau'd at a high level here with some formulaic-ness rearing its head in Season 3. But, in my opinion, if you haven't seen any of the Parry Mason available on DVD, I'd recommend Season 2, Vol. 1 over this for pure courtroom suspense! Still, as Paramount probably know, fans will indulge in this regardless of their package limitations - dammit!

Gary W. Tooze


Sample DVD Menus

 

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Screen Captures Samples

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Available at a bit of a savings is the entire Season 1 - Perry Mason - Season One, Vols. 1 & 2 with all 39 complete episodes from the First Season of Perry Mason.

          

Distribution Paramount - Region 1- NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze