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Question about Perry Mason... (1 Viewer)

Vic Pardo

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Raymond Burr's centennial is coming up this Sunday and I realize I've never seen any of his later Perry Mason TV movies, 28 of them from 1985 to 1993. I'm a big fan of the original series, but I've always doubted that the later work could be any good, simply because the quality of TV writing in the 1980s and '90s had really declined. Am I wrong about the later Perry Mason movies? Are there any specific titles from that period to seek out? Or any group that's better than the others?

Thanks for any suggestions.
 

FanCollector

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There are actually 30 of them, 26 with Burr and four without. You're right that they aren't generally as good as the series, but they are nice reunions as those things go. Earlier ones are generally better and have more for Burr to do. If you're looking for just a couple as samples, I'd recommend the first one, Perry Mason Returns, as well as The Case of the Lost Love with excellent guest turns by Jean Simmons and Gene Barry.
 

Pathfiner

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I enjoyed these ones;

'The Case of The Sinister Spirit' - with Robert Stack, Kim Delaney, Leigh Taylor-Young, and Dwight Shultz - a rather different type of 'spooky' tale and a good compelling TV Movie set in a large old fashioned hotel resort with a reputation for being haunted

'The Case of The Desperate Deception' - with Ian Bannen and Ian McShane re the hunt for Nazi war criminals with a holocaust angle (hinting at Perry's final departure up to the International court) is set in Paris and was another fine TV Movie

'The Case of The Avenging Ace' - good to see Don Galloway from 'Ironside' reunited with RB here in this tale which features the USAF

'The Case of The Lady in The Lake' - Perry defends David Hasslehoff (not sure that was wise Perry !) when his young wife vanishes in the same lake just as her kid sister did in a famous unsolved crime of years before...it's a bit routine but has superb countryside scenery and some good action too

watch out in some for James McEachin as Lt. Brock - the world's WORST Detective !!!
 
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Ron1973

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No "reunion" movie will ever be as good as the series; see The Beverly Hillbillies and The Andy Griffith Show for instance. Perry Mason does hold up pretty well in these movies, at least to me. It takes a bit of getting used to that he's older at that point, but they still hold up well to me.
 

Matt Hough

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watch out in some for James McEachin as Lt. Brock - the world's WORST Detective !!!
I reviewed all of the TV movie packages as they were released, so you might want to do a search to see my thoughts on them.
I certainly agree with Jeff about James McEachin whose mannered acting style drove me nearly crazy during his several appearances in these TV films.
 

Vic Pardo

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I went to my local video store, FYE (yes, there's still one of those in my neighborhood) and found a used copy of Perry Mason Movie Collection Double Feature 1, containing the first two movies, "Perry Mason Returns" and "The Case of the Notorious Nun." I started watching the first one and I find the deep voices of Burr and Hale quite jarring. And Burr really sounds slower. It's as if the disc was slowed down a notch. Is it just the actors getting old or something wrong with the disc?
 

rsmithjr

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The Perry Mason movies made during the 80's and 90's are actually quite good but a bit different in tone and obviously with a different cast.
 

Steve...O

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I agree with Pathfiner's choices for the best ones. As a series, themovies are enjoyable and Burr/Hale are in top form, but they are definitely a product of their time production wise with stunt casting and are ironically more dated than the TV series. I also think it was a mistake to have a character called Paul Drake, Jr since there was no reference to one in the original series and relocating Perry to Colorado bugged me.

On the plus side, William R Moses is a great addition as Perry's co-counsel and the stunt casting means that there are usually some really good guest stars. Finally, Hal Holbrook makes his three films very many ch worth watching. All 30 films can be obtained cheaply as a box either at Amazon or Walmart.

Useless trivia: I was in Denver on a family vacation during the filming of one of the later Burrs and saw the trailers for the actors. No Burr though as he rarely did outside scenes by that point.
 

Jack P

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Cassie Yates was terrible as the DA in the first film (she seemed more anxious to just beat Perry than whether she had a case or not). David Ogden Stiers at least was a more formidable adversary.

The fact that there was never any indication Paul Drake was married was why the Paul, Jr. character made no sense and was indeed just a gimmick.
 

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Looks like I have at least TWO complete series on my January 6 (The Feast of the Kings) "Santa List". This show and Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In :D. (I've decided all Christmas Gifts "From me to myself" will be ordered on this day. It allows me more time for my Children's Christmas project, and it gives me a little something to look forward to after the holiday are over. :cheers:
 

Regulus

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Bummer News! :( "The Big River" is selling the complete Perry Mason for $87.00 and some chump change. :eek:Unfortunately all my money is tied up on a trip to Tennessee this August to see the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21. This isn't the first time something like this has happened to me, and it certainly won't be last time. I'll just have to wait until I "catch the next wave". :cool:
 

Pathfiner

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I think the character of Paul Drake jnr was both a salute to the TV show's original investigator and due to the fact actor William Katt was Barbara Hale's son - so time wise any son the original Paul Drake might have had back then - even say born in 1966 - would be the right age for the 80's TV movies etc...

the TV movies had some better stories in certain ones that others but overall run to a very established formula - Paul or Ken always meet a pretty girl, have a chase and a fight, lose the first one but succeed in another fight or chase later on...and normally get to go off with the girl at the end

Perry spots a vital clue that the hopeless Police miss....

meanwhile the REAL killer is always in court at the end...which always cracked me up re Perry Mason !

the relocation was to suit Raymond Burr I believe - 'Return of Ironside' saw a similar relocation from San Francisco to Denver....
 
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Vic Pardo

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Today is Raymond Burr's centennial and my appreciation of his career is up on my blog:

https://briandanacamp.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/raymond-burr-centennial/

33917489874_9cc5030f3b.jpg
 

FanCollector

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That's a terrific piece, Brian. You have isolated so many of the things that made Burr special and elevated him to the kind of stardom most character actors never achieve. It's also interesting to note the extent to which he was aware of his own specific talent; he knew Perry Mason was the role for him, and he took great pains to arrange an opportunity to audition for it.
 

Matt Hough

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He was also heavily featured in today's entry on Noir Alley on TCM: Crime of Passion. I had never seen it before, and it was very enjoyable. It was released a few months before he began his long, long run as Perry Mason on television.
 

Vic Pardo

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He was also heavily featured in today's entry on Noir Alley on TCM: Crime of Passion. I had never seen it before, and it was very enjoyable. It was released a few months before he began his long, long run as Perry Mason on television.

Eddie Muller singled out Burr for praise in his intro but never mentioned that today was his centennial. It was also the only Burr film TCM scheduled today.
 

Vic Pardo

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My local FYE closed on Saturday but I managed to get the Perry Mason complete 9-season box set for less than half-price. What a find. Of course, I could have gotten it cheaper on Amazon, where it's $86.88 last time I checked. I'd previously only had the first season.
 

Greg Chenoweth

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My local FYE closed on Saturday but I managed to get the Perry Mason complete 9-season box set for less than half-price. What a find. Of course, I could have gotten it cheaper on Amazon, where it's $86.88 last time I checked. I'd previously only had the first season.

Enjoy! I purchased or was gifted all 18 box sets when they first came out and I wish I had known at that time that there was going to be a complete series set that was going to be issued down the road. It could have saved everyone a lot of money. I am re-watching the series again and I am just getting to the beginning of Season 4.
 

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