Court is back in session as CBS DVD has released yet another volume, Season 7, Volume 1 in this case, of that classic legal drama Perry Mason. For those who don’t know attorney Perry Mason, he first appeared in author/lawyer Erle Stanley Gardner’s 1933 novel The Case of the Velvet Claws. The character continued in novels and short stories, and made the jump to different mediums, such as film and radio, before going on to its greatest success: television.
Raymond Burr stars as Mason, and along with his team of secretary Della Street (Barbara Hale) and private detective Paul Drake (William Hopper), they work to prove the innocence of his clients, which they do with great success. Other than the age of the actors, it’s hard to tell the difference between this and earlier seasons as the producers continued to follow the same pattern that made the show such a success.
The 15 episodes in this four-disc set originally aired Thursday nights at 9:00 PM from September 1963 through January 1964. They are presented in an aspect ratio of 4:3 and with mono audio. Classic TV aficionados will recognize guest stars such as Richard Anderson, Ivan Dixon, Alan Hale Jr., James Hong, L.Q. Jones, Billy Mumy, and Denver Pyle.
While obsessive fans are certain to pick up this set to ensure they eventually have a complete set, the causal watcher may not see the need with some many previous volumes on the market. But this volume offers something special, as noted on the insert. Out of the 271 episodes that aired over nine seasons, Mason only lost three cases to District Attorney Hamilton Burger (William Talman). “The Deadly Verdict” is one of them. This happens at the beginning of the episode, in part because his client’s alibi was proved false and she won’t tell Perry the truth. He must then work to disprove the case before his client gets the gas chamber.
Perry Mason is comfort-food television. It doesn’t challenge viewers’ expectations. Rather, it delivers what they want in a mystery: the case solved, the hero triumphant, and the bad guys punished. It that’s what you are looking for, Season 7, Volume 1 delivers.