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The Perry Mason TV movies (1985–95) are a series of 30 television films that aired on NBC as a sequel to the CBS-TV series Perry Mason. After a hiatus of nearly 20 years, Raymond Burr reprised his role as Los Angeles defense attorney Perry Mason in 26 of the television films. Following Burr's death in 1993, Paul Sorvino and Hal Holbrook starred in the remaining four that aired from 1993 to 1995.

Perry Mason television films
Perry-Mason-Returns-intertitle.jpg
Based on Characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Starring
Theme music composer Fred Steiner
Opening theme "Park Avenue Beat"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Jeff Peters
  • Joel Steiger
  • Barry Steinberg
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time ~95 minutes
Production company(s)
  • Intermedia Entertainment Company (1985–86)
  • Strathmore Productions (1985–88)
  • The Fred Silverman Company (1987–1995)
  • Dean Hargrove Productions (1988–1995)
    Viacom Productions (1985–1995)
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Release
Original network NBC
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Mono (1985–1990)
Stereo (1990–1995)
Original release December 1, 1985 (1985-12-01) – April 10, 1995 (1995-04-10)
Chronology
Preceded by Perry Mason (1957–1966)

Contents

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

The original Perry Mason television series was broadcast on CBS television from 1957 to 1966. Raymond Burr starred as Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Perry Mason, a character created by American author and attorney Erle Stanley Gardner. Television producer Dean Hargrove resurrected the Perry Mason character in a series of television films for NBC beginning in 1985.

CastingEdit

Dean Hargrove was able to bring back the two then-surviving major stars, Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale (reprising their roles as Mason and Della Street) for the first telefilm, Perry Mason Returns, in which Mason resigns his position as an appellate court judge to defend Street on a murder charge. William Katt, Hale's own son, was cast as private investigator Paul Drake, Jr., the son of private investigator Paul Drake. William Hopper, who played Drake in the original television series, had died in 1970; his photograph appears on Paul Drake Jr.'s desk. Katt appeared in the first nine movies.

In the later TV movies, Mason utilizes the services of Ken Malansky (William R. Moses), an attorney who works with him as a private investigator. Malansky's character is introduced in The Case of the Lethal Lesson (1989), as a law student who is defended by Mason on a murder charge.[1]:40151

Among the few actors to appear in major recurring roles were David Ogden Stiers as District Attorney Michael Reston (1986–1988), James McEachin as police Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Ed Brock (1986-1995), and Alexandra Paul as Ken Malansky's girlfriend Amy Hastings (1989).

FilmingEdit

Budgeted at $3 million, Perry Mason Returns was filmed in Toronto, standing in for Los Angeles to save production costs.[2] Because of lower production costs, many of the later TV movies were filmed and set in Denver, Colorado rather than Mason's traditional locale of Los Angeles. Although located in Colorado, a courtroom wall shown at the end of the opening title sequence bears a Seal of Los Angeles County, California plaque.

MusicEdit

Fred Steiner's theme music was re-recorded by composer Dick DeBenedictis; Steiner himself arranged the theme at DeBenedictis's request.[3]

After Burr's deathEdit

A total of 30 movies were made between 1985 and 1995, with Burr starring in 26. After Burr died in 1993, Paul Sorvino and Hal Holbrook starred in the final four telefilms from 1993 to 1995. These four films were presented as A Perry Mason Mystery, with Sorvino starring as Anthony Caruso in the first film and Holbrook starring as Bill "Wild Bill" McKenzie in the remaining three. Their characters are introduced as both lawyers and close friends of Mason, who is ostensibly out of town. Both Barbara Hale and William R. Moses reprised their roles for all four films, although, in the final film in 1995, Hale contributed only a small cameo with Holland Taylor substituting for her.

Hale said that continuing the series was suggested by Burr. "Raymond was so concerned that the crew keep working—we'd been with same crew for six years. He felt we must keep going as long as the audience was as kind to us as they are. It's the show that will keep going, but not the character. I do think it's a sweet memorial."[4]

Perry Mason television filmsEdit

Raymond Burr filmsEdit

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1Perry Mason ReturnsRon SatlofDean HargroveDecember 1, 1985 (1985-12-01)

Cast: Patrick O'Neal, Holland Taylor, Richard Anderson, Kerrie Keane[5][1]:39603
2Perry Mason: The Case of the Notorious NunRon SatlofJoel SteigerMay 25, 1986 (1986-05-25)

Cast: Arthur Hill, Tom Bosley, Barbara Parkins, Michele Greene, Timothy Bottoms[5][1]:39678
3Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting StarRon SatlofAnne C. CollinsNovember 9, 1986 (1986-11-09)

Cast: Jennifer O'Neill, Joe Penny, Ron Glass, Alan Thicke, Ivan Dixon, Wendy Crewson[5][1]:39730
4Perry Mason: The Case of the Lost LoveRon SatlofAnne CollinsFebruary 23, 1987 (1987-02-23)

Cast: Jean Simmons, Gene Barry, Robert Mandan, Robert Walden[5][1]:39783
5Perry Mason: The Case of the Sinister SpiritRichard LangAnne CollinsMay 24, 1987 (1987-05-24)

Cast: Robert Stack, Dwight Schultz, Kim Delaney, Dennis Lipscomb, Jack Bannon[5][1]:39844
6Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered MadamRon SatlofPatricia GreenOctober 4, 1987 (1987-10-04)

Cast: Daphne Ashbrook, Vincent Baggetta, Jason Bernard, Anthony Geary[5][1]:39903
7Perry Mason: The Case of the Scandalous ScoundrelChristian I. Nyby IIAnthony SpinnerNovember 15, 1987 (1987-11-15)

Cast: Robert Guillaume, Morgan Brittany, René Enríquez, George Grizzard[5][1]:39952
8Perry Mason: The Case of the Avenging AceChristian I. Nyby IILee David ZlotoffFebruary 28, 1988 (1988-02-28)

Cast: Patty Duke, Erin Gray, Larry Wilcox, Charles Siebert[5][1]:40008
9Perry Mason: The Case of the Lady in the LakeRon SatlofShel WillensMay 15, 1988 (1988-05-15)

Cast: David Hasselhoff, John Beck, Doran Clark, George Deloy, John Ireland[5][1]:40068
10Perry Mason: The Case of the Lethal LessonChristian I. Nyby IIRobert HamiltonFebruary 12, 1989 (1989-02-12)

Cast: Brian Keith, Leslie Ackerman[5][1]:40119
11Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical MurderChristian I. Nyby IIGeorge EcksteinApril 9, 1989 (1989-04-09)

Cast: Debbie Reynolds, Jerry Orbach, Dwight Schultz, Luis Ávalos[5][1]:40168
12Perry Mason: The Case of the All-Star AssassinChristian I. Nyby IIRobert HamiltonNovember 19, 1989 (1989-11-19)

Cast: Deidre Hall, Bruce Greenwood, Shari Belafonte, Pernell Roberts[5][1]:40237
13Perry Mason: The Case of the Poisoned PenChristian I. Nyby IIGeorge EcksteinJanuary 21, 1990 (1990-01-21)

Cast: Cindy Williams, Barbara Babcock, Kiel Martin, Tony Lo Bianco, David Warner[5][1]:40296
14Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate DeceptionChristian I. Nyby IIGeorge EcksteinMarch 11, 1990 (1990-03-11)

Cast: Ian Bannen, Ian McShane, Yvette Mimieux, Terry O'Quinn, Marcy Walker, Teresa Wright[5][1]:40354
15Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced SingerRon SatlofAnne CollinsMay 20, 1990 (1990-05-20)

Cast: Tim Reid, Alan Rachins, Vanessa Williams, Angela Bassett, Alice Ghostley[5][1]:40422
16Perry Mason: The Case of the Defiant DaughterChristian I. Nyby IIAnne CollinsSeptember 30, 1990 (1990-09-30)

Cast: Jere Burns, Robert Culp, Ken Kercheval, Kevin Tighe, Robert Vaughn, Jenny Lewis[5][1]:40504
17Perry Mason: The Case of the Ruthless ReporterChristian I. Nyby IISean CholodenkoJanuary 6, 1991 (1991-01-06)

Cast: John James, Jerry Orbach, Susan Sullivan, Philip Michael Thomas[5][1]:40575
18Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned MobsterRon SatlofSean CholodenkoFebruary 11, 1991 (1991-02-11)

Cast: Mason Adams, Michael Nader, Anne Schedeen[5][1]:40658
19Perry Mason: The Case of the Glass CoffinChristian I. Nyby IIBrian ClemensMay 14, 1991 (1991-05-14)

Cast: Peter Scolari, Nancy Lee Grahn, John Karlen, Dennis Lipscomb, Julie Sommars, Kim Braden[5][1]:40721
20Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal FashionChristian I. Nyby IIRobert JanesSeptember 24, 1991 (1991-09-24)

Cast: Valerie Harper, Diana Muldaur, Scott Baio, Robert Clohessy[5][1]:40792
21Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal FramingChristian I. Nyby IISean CholodenkoMarch 1, 1992 (1992-03-01)

Cast: Jane Carr, Maureen Mueller, John Rhys-Davies, Scott Valentine, David Soul[5][1]:40860
22Perry Mason: The Case of the Reckless RomeoChristian I. Nyby IIBrian ClemensMay 5, 1992 (1992-05-05)

Cast: Geraldo Rivera, Tracy Nelson, Priscilla Barnes, Anjanette Comer[5][1]:40920
23Perry Mason: The Case of the Heartbroken BrideChristian I. Nyby IIBrian ClemensOctober 30, 1992 (1992-10-30)

Cast: Ronny Cox, Linda Blair, Paul Dooley, Diane Baker, Stephen Stills[5][1]:41004
24Perry Mason: The Case of the Skin-Deep ScandalChristian I. Nyby IIRobert SchlittFebruary 19, 1993 (1993-02-19)

Cast: Carmen Argenziano, Scott Thompson Baker, Jonathan Banks, Polly Bergen, Morgan Fairchild, Michael Halsey, Tippi Hedren[5][1]:41071
25Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show HostChristian I. Nyby IIJoyce BurdittMay 21, 1993 (1993-05-21)

Cast: Regis Philbin, Mariette Hartley, Fritz Coleman, Cristina Ferrare, G. Gordon Liddy, Fred Roggin, Montel Williams[5][1]:41146
26Perry Mason: The Case of the Killer KissChristian I. Nyby IIGerry ConwayNovember 29, 1993 (1993-11-29)

Cast: Stuart Damon, Linda Dano, Genie Francis[5][1]:41218

A Perry Mason MysteryEdit

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
27A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Wicked WivesChristian I. Nyby IIJoyce BurdittDecember 17, 1993 (1993-12-17)

Starring Paul Sorvino as Anthony Caruso
Cast: Shelley Hack, Kathy Ireland, Maud Adams, Beverly Johnson, Kim Alexis, Paula Marshall[5][1]:41280
28A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Lethal LifestyleHelaine HeadBruce Franklin Singer, Joyce BurditMay 10, 1994 (1994-05-10)

Starring Hal Holbrook as "Wild Bill" McKenzie
Cast: Robin Leach, Dixie Carter, Diahann Carroll, Robert Englund, James Stephens[5][1]:41369
29A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Grimacing GovernorMax TashRobert SchlittNovember 9, 1994 (1994-11-09)

Starring Hal Holbrook as "Wild Bill" McKenzie
Cast: Tony Curtis, Ken Kercheval, James Brolin, Deborah Raffin, John Spencer[5][1]:41425
30A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Jealous JokesterVincent McEveetyGerry ConwayApril 10, 1995 (1995-04-10)

Starring Hal Holbrook as "Wild Bill" McKenzie
Cast: Tony Roberts, Victoria Jackson, David Rasche, Dyan Cannon, Holland Taylor, Tina Yothers[5][1]:41497

ReceptionEdit

Perry Mason Returns, the first television film in the series, was the second-highest-rated TV movie in American television during the 1985–86 season.[6]

AwardsEdit

  • 1988: Perry Mason: The Case of the Avenging Ace received a nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Miniseries or a Special (Dramatic Underscore) at the 40th Primetime Emmy Awards. The composer was Dick DeBenedictis.[7]
  • 1990: Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics at the 42nd Primetime Emmy Awards, for a song composed by Dick DeBenedictis.[7]

Home releaseEdit

All 30 Perry Mason television films are available on Region 1 DVD. They were released in five six-film sets that were initially available exclusively through Amazon.com. On June 7, 2016, the first four movie collections were given general retail release.[8]

DVD set TV movies Release date Notes
Volume 1 1–6 December 31, 2013 [9]
Volume 2 7–12 May 13, 2014 [10]
Volume 3 13–18 August 5, 2014 [11]
Volume 4 19–24 October 7, 2014 [12]
Volume 5 25–30 March 22, 2016 [13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae Davidson, Jim (2014). "Perry Mason TV-Movies". The Perry Mason Book: A Comprehensive Guide to America's Favorite Defender of Justice (e-book). ASIN B00OOELV1K.
  2. ^ Kelly, Deirdre (August 17, 1985). "Back on the Case". The Globe and Mail.
  3. ^ Bond, Jeff (1999). The Music of Star Trek. Los Angeles: Lone Eagle Publishing Company. ISBN 1-58065-012-0.
  4. ^ Brennan, Patricia (November 28, 1993). "Barbara Hale; Her Long Friendship with Raymond Burr". The Washington Post.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad "Perry Mason (1985–1993), The Perry Mason Mystery (1993–1995)". The Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  6. ^ Grimes, William (September 14, 1993). "Raymond Burr, Actor, 76, Dies; Played Perry Mason and Ironside". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-04-07.
  7. ^ a b "Awards Search". Emmys. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  8. ^ "Perry Mason - Wide Releases for Movie Collections 1–4, and for Double Features 13–15". TV Shows on DVD.com. TV Guide Online. April 5, 2016. Archived from the original on May 10, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  9. ^ "Perry Mason - Movie Collection Volume 1". TV Shows on DVD.com. TV Guide Online. Archived from the original on June 30, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  10. ^ "Perry Mason - Movie Collection Volume 2". TV Shows on DVD.com. TV Guide Online. Archived from the original on June 30, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  11. ^ "Perry Mason - Movie Collection Volume 3". TV Shows on DVD.com. TV Guide Online. Archived from the original on June 30, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  12. ^ "Perry Mason - Movie Collection Volume 4". TV Shows on DVD.com. TV Guide Online. Archived from the original on June 30, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  13. ^ "Perry Mason - Movie Collection Volume 5". TV Shows on DVD.com. TV Guide Online. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.

External linksEdit