Trivia about the Series or Multiple Episodes
If you have an item for this page, please send it to me by email. A nice write-up is appreciated but not required. Most recently added listed first except, maybe, when adding to an older item. Items without attribution are from daveb. See also the Credits Anomalies page for some actor name oddities.
William Grant Still (1895-1978), often referred to as "the dean of African-American composers", wrote background music for both the original Perry Mason series and for Gunsmoke. More here (search in-page for Perry Mason). Submitted by John Weiskittel, 12/23/11 by email, posted by daveb, 12/25/11. See also the Wikipedia and do a "Writers" search for him at ASCAP for a listing of his TV and film works.
Obituary: Fred Steiner, composer of the Perry Mason show theme and much incidental music for the series, died on June 23, 2011, at the age of 88. Read more about his prolific, and sometimes surprising, career at the Wikipedia and the IMDb. Read about the music used for the show theme in the Perry Mason TV Show Book and below here. Search at your favorite newspaper website for a "print" obituary. Posted 7/1/11
Perry's Pen Set can be seen on his desk it most every episode. The set is a version from the famous Parker 51 series of fountain pens made by the Parker Pen Company. The pen set seen on the judge's bench in the Season 1 opening sequence is made by Esterbrook. More information here. Submitted by Jeff Richards, 2/22/11 by email, posted by daveb, 4/27/11.
It runs in the family: John M. Nickolaus, Jr. was the cinematographer for at least 30 episodes. His father, John Nickolaus, was head of the film laboratory of M.G.M. Studios in Culver City, California during the 1920s. Like father, like son! Submitted by Grace V. Palazzolo, 4/18/11.
Baby Names: Searching the Popularity of a Name database at the Social Security Online site, I noticed that the name "Perry" hit it's most popular rank, #132, in the second and third years of the series. Could there be a connection? There doesn't seem to have been an equivalent trend with the name "Della." Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 3/30/11. See a ranking graph here.
A tidbit from the Independant, Star-News (Pasadena, CA) for Sunday, July 20, 1958: "Actual production of a Perry Mason show takes six shooting days. With week-ends off for cast and crew this requires nine elapsed days, not including cutting, dubbing, orchestration and other technical chores which turn the exposed film into a highly-polished hour-long show." Submitted by daveb, 1/15/11.
Have you seen the Curious Coffee Set? It appears to be a very persistent prop. Cups from it have been spotted it at least seven episodes so far. Even stranger, it may have appeared in an episode of I Love Lucy. Submitted by Evelyn Erlichster, 12/10/10. More information and some pictures here.
Did you ever notice the colorful and evocative adjectives used in the episode titles, sometimes just for the sake of alliteration? Some are used more than once. "Deadly" and "Golden" were used four times, "Angry" three times and the following twice: "Bogus," "Borrowed," "Careless," "Crying," "Duplicate," "Fatal," "Fickle," "Fugitive," "Garrulous," "Lonely," "Loverís." "Lucky," "Misguided," "Missing," "Nervous," "Runaway," "Silent," "Unwelcome" and "Violent." Submitted by Grace Palazzolo, 10/15/2010.
Most Players in a Film: "By my count, North By Northwest has 46 Perry Mason actors out of a total of 85 actors listed for the film (54%). I Want to Live! has 39 Perry Mason actors out of a total of 60 (65%). So North By Northwest has a higher bulk number, but I Want To Live has a higher percentage." Submitted by Alan Jones, 10/5/10. See below for earlier items on this topic. More information, including Alan's methodology, here.
Two PM actors, Virginia Gregg and Jeanette Nolan, shared the voice credits for Norma ("Mother") Bates in Psycho, along with non-PM actor Paul Jasmin. Why it took three actors to voice one role, I'm not sure. Maybe they alternated lines depending on which vocal quality Hitchcock wanted, or maybe they were acoustically combined or edited together in some way. But at any rate, IMDb lists the three of them as "Norma Bates (voice) (uncredited)." Submitted by Alan Jones, 10/5/10.
What a menagerie! Did you ever observe how often an animal showed up in the episode titles? Twenty-four times! The cases: Drowning Duck, Vagabond Vixen, Moth-Eaten Mink (two animals!), Fan Dancer's Horse, Perjured Parrot, Glittering Goldfish, Caretaker's Cat, Howling Dog, Lame Canary, Startled Stallion, Mythical Monkeys, Bashful Burro, Waylaid Wolf, Cowardly Lion, Crippled Cougar, Weary Watchdog, Fickle Filly, Polka Dot Pony, Drowsy Mosquito, Ugly Duckling, Carelss Kitten, Grinning Gorilla, 12th Wildcat, and Baffling Bug. Among the creatures named, four were birds, four were canines, four were felines, five were equines, one was a fish, two were non-human primates, and three were insects. Submitted by Grace Palazzolo, 9/30/2010.
Have you seen this man? Taylor Agan would like to know. Family lore says that his great uncle Robert Wegner was in various episodes in uncredited roles. Perhaps in the jury or courtroom audience. There are some pictures of him here. If you've seen him, please let me know the episode so I can get a vidcap for Taylor. My email link is near the bottom of the sidebar. Thanks! Posted by daveb, 3/24/10. Update: Rich Erickson found our man and reported it on 6/23/10. More here. Posted by daveb, 6/29/10.
Those Hats! Did you ever notice how some women's hats appear more than once in the series? See some repeaters here. Submitted by Karrin Kain, 1/30/05.
Another contender for most Perry Mason players in a film is I Want to Live! Somebody please count them and let me know. The current record is 43 in North By Northwest (see below). Thanks to Charles Richmond for spotting this. Posted 3/24/10.
A total of Seventy-five episodes were adapted from Erle Stanley Gardner books or stories. Seven episodes were adapted a second time with new titles. Two episodes adapted from books were retitled for reasons other than remaking. More here. Updated 7/7/09.
Julie Adams and Virginia Field are the only two Perry Mason guest actors to receive top billing (the first screen credit) in four different episodes. Submitted by Charles Richmond, 2/19/09.
Did you ever wonder what all of those objections Perry makes in court really mean? Find out here. Submitted by Bob Dean, 6/4/08.
Did you ever notice how often a color showed up in the titles? Fifteen times! Here they are: Restless Redhead, Crimson Kiss, Green-eyed Sister, Black-eyed Blonde, Purple Woman, Borrowed Brunette, Glittering Goldfish, Golden Fraud, Lavender Lipstick, Red Riding Boots, Golden Oranges, Blonde Bonanza, Golden Venom, Golden Girls and Scarlet Scandal. Submitted by Charles Richmond, 5/17/07.
Joan Camden, it should be noted, appeared in the last episode of Season 1 (#39) and the first episode of Season 2 (#40). Submitted by Pat Herlihy, 2/13/06.
Marshall Reed appeared in consecutive episodes #189 and 190. Has anybody else played in consecutive shows in a non-recurring part? Submitted by Mitch English, 2/16/05. Yes! Joan Camden had a lead role in #39 and 40. In minor roles: Clark Howat in #1 and #2 and Richard Geary in #211 and #212. Semi-regulars and judges excluded.
There were actually three versions of the Park Avenue Beat theme song! The first was used in seasons one and two, the second in three thru eight and the third in the final season. "In the final season, the changes are subtle, but it seems to be a slightly faster tempo, with a little more brass and saxophone." Submitted by Bill--W2XOY, 2/13/06.
There seems to be at least two versions of the Park Avenue Beat theme song in the shows. The "first" version had really "hard" drums toward the end of the intro theme. The later version softened these a bit, and sounded more like it had been recorded in a proper studio with a better engineer - a little smoother sound. Submitted by JD, 6/22/05.
Here are some MP3s of the opening theme from show #1, show #70 (3rd season opener) and show #242 (final season opener) for comparison. The name of the theme is explained in the note at the bottom of this page.
Anne Whitfield appeared as defendant in #211, TCOT Ugly Duckling, then as defendant again in #217, TCOT Nautical Knot, just six episodes later. Has any other actor been a defendent twice is this short of time? Submitted by Chris Graul, 11/10/05. Nope! Next best is Jean Hale as defendant appearing eight episodes apart in #234, TCOT Murderous Mermaid, and #242, TCOT Laughing Lady. Next, at 10 episodes apart, are Louise Latham as murderer in #235, TCOT Careless Kitten, and #245, TCOT Cheating Chancellor, and Mark Roberts as victim in #146, TCOT Absent Artist, and #156, TCOT Playboy Pugilist.
The TV series McHale's Navy had a lot of guest-spot Admirals, and a surprising number of the were Perry Mason alumni: John Zaremba, Willis Bouchey, Herbert Lytton, Frank Ferguson, Roy Roberts, Tyler McVey, Harry von Zell, Paul Bryar, Bill Quinn and Philip Ober. Submitted by Charles Richmond, 9/29/05.
Robert Colbert appears as F.A. Snell in #239, TCOT Grinning Gorilla, and as Carl Snell in #248, TCOT Hasty Honeymooner. Curiously, both times as the District Attorney. Submitted by Mitch English, 5/8/05.
Frank Behrens and Amzie Strickland, husband and wife, are curiously together in the series having appeared in back-to-back episodes #134, TCOT Left-handed Liar (her) and #135, TCOT Brazen Bequest (him). Submitted by D. A. Supernaw, 4/28/05.
Joe De Santis has the unusual distinction of being murdered in the Lodestar apartment hotel in two separate episodes. He was George Castle in #33, TCOT Long-Legged Models and Melvin Slater in #52, TCOT Borrowed Brunette. Submitted by Charles Richmond, 4/19/05.
Disappearing Hanky. Perry is somtimes seen heading somewhere with a hankerchief in his pocket. When he gets to where he's going, the hanky is gone! This phenomenon has been observed in at least #244, #254, #257 and #266. See a sample here. Submitted by Julie Corson, 2/21/05.
Robert Sterling was considered for the role of Perry Mason. Read about it here. Submitted by Mitch English, 2/11/05.
John Larkin, who appeared in four episodes of the TV series, was the voice of Perry Mason on the radio series. Submitted by Mitch English, 1/30/05. Find out more about the radio series here. John Larkin was the last of the radio Masons; Bartlett Robinson, who appeared in six episodes of the TV series, was the first.
Perry's Desktop looks pretty blah in the first two seasons. A dull finish with little grain. At the beginning of the third season, the desktop changes. Some examples here. Submitted by Mitch English, 1/25/05.
Paul Richards (#74 and #147) and Leonard Stone (#158, #195, #226 and #156) also appeared in The New Perry Mason series. Submitted by Mitch English, 12/20/04. Also Lloyd Bochner (#222), David Hedison (#159) and Linda Marsh (#233).
The music in the Hitchcock film, North By Northwest, is very similar to that in some seasons of Perry Mason. In at least one episode, #105, TCOT Loquacious Liar, you can find an exact match. The film's original music composer, Bernard Herrmann, also did work for Perry Mason. Another connection to the show is in the cast. As listed at the IMDb, you will find no less than 43 Perry Mason players in the film. Some kind of record I think. Submitted by Adam Kamil, 11/26/04.
Perry's office moves to the Bank of California building sometime in the eighth season. Nobody notices. The quality of the marble in the hallways improves. Submitted by Earl Poulson, 10/6/04.
A musical mystery: Bits of the instrumental "Eine Schwarzwaldfahrt" by Horst Jankowski, a Berlin, Germany-based jazz pianist, can be heard as background in #126, TCOT Missing Melody (9/30/61), #146, TCOT Absent Artist (3/17/62) and #180, TCOT Potted Planter (5/9/63). The piece became a "worldwide" hit in 1965 as "A Walk in the Black Forest." So, how did it show up on Perry Mason years before? Was Horst shopping the tune around for years? Or did someone from the show hear the melody and buy the rights? Submitted by Henry McNulty, 6/5/03.
Della Street can be found in Branson, Missouri. See here. Submitted by Bill, 9/10/03.
An attorney with a rep for never losing a case appeared in the "Little Bamm Bamm" episode of The Flintstones in 1963. His name? Perry Masonary! See him in action here. Submitted by Maria Alicia Moya long ago. Posted 12/21/03. Thanks to Leah also!
The old courthouse in West Hartford, Connecticut, is located at the corner of Raymond (Road) and Burr (Street). You can see a map here. Submitted by Henry McNulty, 5/16/03.
Who is that bust in Perry's office? This question was first asked by Paul in May 2002. In the Perry Mason novels, it's Sir William Blackstone, the famous 18th century British jurist. But, the bust in the TV show is not Blackstone! On 11/1/02, Donna Bruce posted her answer on Howard Berlin's Perry Mason Message Board. It's Voltaire! Some pictorial evidence can be found here.
The series was filmed from 1957-1959 at the 20th Century Fox Western Avenue lot. From 1959-1961 (I think) it was filmed at General Service Studios and, from 1961 to the end of the series, it was filmed at La Brea Studios. This information comes from a review of the "photographic assignments" sections of back issues of American Cinematographer magazine. Submitted by Myron King, 5/31/02.