Posted May 27 2008 - 06:57 AM
For anyone still on the fence about this purchase, I just wanted to add my testimony that Burke's Law is a totally entertaining show that holds up marvelously. Sue me, but I've enjoyed watching these episodes much more than the recent Perry Mason anniversay set. Part of that enjoyment is the pacing - this show is much faster paced due to the abundance of guest stars it has to squeeze into 50 minutes. It's full of humor, starlets, and so-very-60s sexual innuendos. The writing is solid and, unlike an overly-convoluted Perry Mason plot, you actually have a shot at figuring at the killer because they do reveal a telling clue on the suspect early on.
The guest stars, as mentioned by other posters, are a calvacade of golden age Hollywood stars and 60s TV luminaries, and they obviously have a blast playing eccentric Hollywood types. When I first watched this show in reruns as a teenager, although I loved the show, I thought these self-absorbed eccentric characters the stars were playing were a little over the top - almost cartoonish. But having subsequently worked in the film business for 17 years (and moved on!), I now recognize how ridiculously accurate these stereotypes actually were ... and still are. There's nothing more bizarre than reality in La-La Land.
You've got Rita Moreno playing a former studio concubine chained to poolside lawn chair as part of her rehab for alcoholism overseen by a Nazi maid. Terry Thomas as a burned out bartender drinking one matching shot for every drink he delivers (and peeking out from his phony eyepatch). The very rugged Ed Begley Sr. playing totally against type as an effeminate publisher. Elizabeth Montgomery slinking it up as a provocatively-dressed seductress. And on and on and on. The joy they get from stepping outside their normal type-casting is obvious. Plus they relish in the opportunity to all play potential suspects.
A couple comments about the presentation. I looked at the before and after restoration demonstration on the main menu page and it appears they just ran the tapes through some kind of noise filter to reduce film grain or video noise. They smoothed out the image, yes, but took away some of the sharpness. The presentation is still good (not Fugitive good), but I just find it funny that the before/after presentation doesn't really make the case for the effort. I'd prefer a little grain and a sharper image, to be honest. And it doesn't 'sound' like they did anything with the sound. It's pretty tinny and thin. But the less-than-great presentation is not in any way enough to take away from the value of this set. It's simply a hoot.
When you watch Gene Barry trading suprisingly clever and direct inneundos with purring Hollywood suspect sex bombs, well, it gives the term 'guilty pleasures' a whole new meaning. And this show is definitely one of them.