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TVMovie #1
Perry Mason Returns
Original Airdate: 12/01/85

Summary Edit

The president of Arthur Gordon Industries celebrates his 60th birthday by announcing that his relatives are all being cut out from his will and Della will be the new Administrator of his foundation. After which he is promptly murdered and Della is the chief suspect. Perry steps down from his position as an Appellate Court Judge to defend Della.

Credits Edit


Raymond Burr as Perry Mason
Barbara Hale as Della Street
William Katt as Paul Drake, Jr.

Also Starring
Howland Taylor as Paula Gordon
Richard Anderson as Ken Braddock
Kerri Keane as Kathryn Gordon
Al Freeman Jr. as Lt. Cooper
David McIlwraith as David Gordon
Roberta Weiss as Laura Gordon
and Cassie Yates as Julie (Barbara) Scott

Special Guest Star Patrick O'Neal as Arthur Gordon
Music by Dick DeBenedictis
(Original Perry Mason Theme by Fred Steiner)

Edited by Robert Kimble A.C.E. & Edwin F. England A.C.E.
Art Director David Jaquest
Director of Photography Albert J. Dunk A.S.C.
Produced by Barry Steinberg
Written by Dean Hargrove
Based upon characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Directed by Ron Satlof


Executive Producers … Fred Silverman & Dean Hargrove
Associate Producer … Jeff Peters

James Kidnie as Bobby Lynch
Paul Hubbard as Sgt. Stratton
Lindsay Merrithew as Chris
Kathleen Laskey as Luanne
Charles Macaulay as Judge Whitewood
Mag Ruffman as Salesgirl
Carolyn Hetherington as Mrs. Jeffries
Cec Linder as Jack Welles
John C. MacKenzie as Gas Station Attendant
David Bolt as Mr. Henderson
Doug Lennox as Vinnie
Frank Adamson as Mr. Williams
Lee Miller as Security Guard
Nerene Virgin as Minicam Reporter
Ken Pogue as Frank Lynch
Doris Petrie as Mrs. Lynch
Lillian Lewis as Customer
Derek Keurvorst as Court Clerk

Uncredited Actors
Dean Batute as Businessman
Don MacKay

Casting by Eileen Knight C.S.A.
Casting in Canada by Maria Armstrong C.D.C. & Ross Clydesdale C.D.C.
Production Manager … Barbara Kelly
1st Assitant Director … Richard Flower
2nd Assitant Director … Woody Sidarous
3rd Assitant Director … Ross Clyde
Costume Designer … Ronn Rynhart
Make Up … Irene Kent
Hair Stylist … David Beecroft
Set Decorator … Jaro Dick
Property Master … Paul Harding
Wardrobe … Erla Lank
Production Sound Mixer … Bruce Carwardine
Gaffer … Ray Boyle
Key Grip … Michael Kohne
Script Supervisor … Blanche McDermaid
Location Manager … Debra Beers
Transportation Coordinator … Brian O'Hara
Title Design … Wayne Fitzgerald
Re-Recording and Sound Effects Editorial by Glen Glenn Sound

Re-Recording Mixers
Gordon L. Day
Robert Appere
Gary Bolger

Supervising Sound Editor … William Wistrom
Music Editor … Ted Roberts
Negative Cutting by Dennis Brookins

Thanks to:
Ontario Film/Video Office
Toronto Film Laison Office
Toronto Dominion Bank
and special thanks to The Government of Ontario
Opticals by Howard A. Anderson Company
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Color by Deluxe © Copyright MCMLXXXV Viacom Productions, Inc

Executive In Charge of Production … Richard Birnie

Trivia Edit

The movies would carry over at least one tradition from the Series (bringing back an actor in an entirely new role): in this case Richard Anderson, who for the final year has starred as Lt. Steve Drumm (it's actually his third separate role as he had earlier played another character Ep213 TCOT Paper Bullets). Notcom 051722.

Paul (Drake) was portrayed as unmarried in the Series, and so, presumably was childless. Notcom 051722.

Detective Paul Drake, Jr. is played by William Katt in the PM TV Movies. William is Barbara Hale's real-life child. CMC 01Jun22

Comments Edit

Television was about 40 years old in the mid-80's, was (seemingly) running short on ideas, and - coupled with the country's perpetual nostalgia craze - the result was a flood of The New XXX, Return to YYY, ZZZ Again, etc. One of the efforts, of course, was a revival of Perry Mason (tho, unlike a generally unsuccessful effort in the 70's, the original cast returned).
Whether or not this was a good idea is, obviously, open to debate...fierce debate!! Suffice it to say that a show which played heavily upon the youth and vitality of its cast, and had at its heart the vagaries of the pre-Warren era legal system, faced challenges in just picking up from where it has left off twenty years earlier (indeed those had become problems within the Series itself). So some sensible adjustments were made: occasional movies rather an actual series; back-stories to explain the intervening years; and a reshaping of the Paul Drake role. My thought on these latter two decisions:
- I don't think the premise of Perry having become a judge really worked; altho it played a minmal part in the movies, the idea of Perry having become an impartial arbiter, rather than a fierce, partisan advocate seems like a fundamental violation of the show's very purpose.
- the PI character, if he was to be retained as a youthful sidekick, should have been Paul's nephew, rather than his son; just as with the case of the judgeship, this was a major continuity blunder: it was clear thru the Series that Paul was a carefree (and often clueless) bachelor...having had a son makes no sense, either from a logistical or thematic perspective. Notcom 051722.

I don't want to be unduly harsh here, but my impression of the whole PM TV-movie series is that Fred Silverman and company took unfilmed Matlock scripts, moved the setting to Denver, puffed out the scripts with lots of chase scenes, and VOILA, Perry Mason had returned . . . but not really. Submitted by BobH, 17 May 2022.

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