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Could The Defenders Be Released on DVD?


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#41 of 47 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted September 02 2014 - 08:29 AM

 

Here is an excellent article about the show, and the impact it had upon the viewing public in the early 1960s. Unfortunately, the article contains no updates about the show's release onto DVD:

http://www.avclub.co...the-60s-b-83042


Very good article. There are too many great episodes of this show to mention. Out of 132 shows, there are over 100 great ones. As I've said before, the first 20 or so, CBS was on their case to make the show more like Perry Mason but then once the ratings were good, they left the show alone and that's when it really took off. And unlike the heavy-handed, one-sided diatribes that mark all of the David Kelley shows, The Defenders really did try to look at both sides of the issues.

While The Defenders was by far the greatest and most successful of the socially relevant dramas of the early sixties, it was not the only good one. East Side West Side, The Nurses, For The People, Mr. Novak and others were fine shows as well, none of which are very viewable these days. Although at least ESWS and Novak did have some cable exposure.
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#42 of 47 OFFLINE   Dick

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Posted September 03 2014 - 05:28 AM

The Defenders isn't too controversial, and those stories that went that route (abortion, euthanasia, race relations, etc) are among the more interesting I would think. One wonders why the Emmy-winning series was kept out of syndication for so many years. I could never find The Defenders on TV anywhere.

I can't stand Perry Mason because I don't like Raymond Burr, but E.G. Marshall was a terrific actor. For 8 years in the 1970s and early 80s he was the original host of The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, and he only acted in the show twice (playing Scrooge in their version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol in one of them).

Plus, THE DEFENDERS sometimes lost their cases, which created some underlying suspense. PERRY MASON, I believe, only lost one case during his entire run. Essentially, you knew the outcome going in.



#43 of 47 OFFLINE   JoeDoakes

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Posted September 03 2014 - 06:26 AM

The Defenders article concludes with this:

 

Take, for instance, a relentlessly downbeat season-two two-parter named “Madman,” which won the series its second writing Emmy. It’s the story of how a man’s rotten relationship with his mother colors the rest of his life, leading him to commit murder. At every turn, the Prestons are rebuffed in their attempts to win the man’s life back from the state, and the episodes conclude with a grim scene of the man being dragged to the electric chair after collapsing in tears when he sees his mother isn’t in the galley to watch him die. It’s dour, relentlessly sad, and a little bit remarkable. It’s the kind of episode that would have a hard time making it through network notes sessions in the present, but the combination of CBS head William Paley’s largesse, Brodkin’s clout, and Rose’s creative genius resulted in the heart-rending episode making it on the air in 1962, right in the middle of the period when television grew most ashamed of itself.

 

Really?  Driven to murder because mother didn't love him?  Good thing that the Defenders lost that case.


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#44 of 47 OFFLINE   Vic Pardo

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Posted September 03 2014 - 07:26 AM

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I remember "The Defenders" being on when I was a kid but I don't recall if I ever actually watched an episode or not. It may have come on at my bedtime and I may only have ever seen the opening credits. My father watched it. 

 

"Perry Mason," however, came on at an earlier time and I remember watching that regularly when I was quite young. When GODZILLA (1956) made its TV debut in September 1958, I was five years old and already knew Raymond Burr as "Perry Mason," which gave the Japanese movie a familiar element that no doubt drew a lot of people to it, something the American distributor couldn't have foreseen when he cast Burr in the role of the reporter (Steve Martin!) in the scenes shot in L.A. for the American release version of GODZILLA. Between the time the movie played theatrically in 1956 and the time it came on TV, Burr had, in the interim, become a household name in "Perry Mason."

 

I watched some episodes of "Perry Mason" on DVD earlier this year, the first time I'd seen the show in decades. What struck me was how concise the storytelling and direction were and how pointed the emotions were, so that even a child could get engrossed in it, even if some of the finer legal details went over his head. And Burr was, in many ways, the perfect actor for that. His Mason conveyed an unmistakable moral authority while displaying a keen sense of empathy with his clients, qualities a child might have wished for in his parents.

 

I'm guessing more than a few of the members here remember watching "Perry Mason" and other popular TV dramas on TV when they were young children. Is there any comparable TV drama in the last 20 years that children as young as five would watch? I remember my daughter watching "Melrose Place" when she was about nine or ten and I could hear some dialogue about sex, so I gave her my arched-eyebrow look and she quickly turned it off. I know she watched "Beverly Hills 90210" when she stayed with her mother, but I can't think offhand of anything comparable to "Perry Mason" that she might have watched as a child. I must ask her. 


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#45 of 47 OFFLINE   Susan Nunes_329977

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Posted September 03 2014 - 06:03 PM

What was and is so fun about Perry Mason is the viewer would get to try and figure out who the killer was.  By not knowing who the killer was until the very end of each show, it got people engrossed in it.


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#46 of 47 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted September 05 2014 - 08:08 AM

 

The Defenders article concludes with this:
 
Take, for instance, a relentlessly downbeat season-two two-parter named “Madman,” which won the series its second writing Emmy. It’s the story of how a man’s rotten relationship with his mother colors the rest of his life, leading him to commit murder. At every turn, the Prestons are rebuffed in their attempts to win the man’s life back from the state, and the episodes conclude with a grim scene of the man being dragged to the electric chair after collapsing in tears when he sees his mother isn’t in the galley to watch him die. It’s dour, relentlessly sad, and a little bit remarkable. It’s the kind of episode that would have a hard time making it through network notes sessions in the present, but the combination of CBS head William Paley’s largesse, Brodkin’s clout, and Rose’s creative genius resulted in the heart-rending episode making it on the air in 1962, right in the middle of the period when television grew most ashamed of itself.
 
Really?  Driven to murder because mother didn't love him?  Good thing that the Defenders lost that case.

 
That's really not an accurate description of the episode. The gist of the story was that the man was mentally ill and the argument was over whether or not it was right for the state to execute someone who wasn't responsible for his actions.

#47 of 47 OFFLINE   Wvtvguy

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Posted November 11 2014 - 03:54 AM

I've never seen For the People, Mr Novak, East Side West Side, or the Nurses. Now I'm curious about those shows too!!!
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