Every hero needs an excellent sidekick. They also need a worthy nemesis who foils plans and occasionally challenges established worldviews. For Perry Mason, that person was District Attorney Hamilton Burger.
Played by William Talman, Burger perennially loses cases to the wily Mason – regular losses equivalent to rhythmic punches in the stomach for nine entire seasons. You would think that losing all the time would make the attorney bitter, even a little vengeful. But Talman has always maintained that his character never took the losses personally. Attorney Hamilton Burger was happy as long as justice was served.
Product Placements on Perry Mason
The origins of product placements in films go back to 1896 when a Lever Brothers representative in France put in a request to feature Sunlight soap in a movie. The 1957 Perry Mason series features product placements in the closing credits.
They would appear as tiny pictures of the product when credits rolled. HBO’s "Perry Mason" also demonstrates this intrusive marketing necessity. Season 1, Episode 8 has a Crush Drink vintage poster on the wall. In Episode 2, Matthew Rhys holds up a Kodak camera for audiences to get a better view.
Mason's High-Tech Cool Car Phone
Perry Mason has an enviable lifestyle. He wears the best clothes and drives a fleet of beautiful vintage cars. What’s more, Mason uses a car phone – very high-tech for the time! Car phones were ultimate symbols that a person had arrived (forgive us the useless pun) — as valuable as the vehicle itself.
Only a handful of TV characters owned car phones then. Mason belongs to this illustrious group alongside other members such as Batman (1966-68), Richard Diamond in "Richard Diamond, Private Detective" (1957-1960), and Peter Gunn in the show of the same name (1958-61).
Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed
In "The Case of the Barefaced Witness," the address on Fred Swan’s car registration is 1040 N. Las Palmas Avenue. The location means little to the unversed, but fans know there’s more to it than meets the eye.
This seemingly insignificant detail is the address of the General Service Studios in Hollywood – one of the filming locations for the show. The visual clues in a show speak to its greatness!
Why Perry Always Addressed Lt. Tragg Formally
Fans of the show will have noticed that Perry Mason was never on a first-name basis with Lt. Tragg. It was always “Lieutenant Tragg” and never Arthur. Mason used a more familiar term of address with other law enforcement officials – specifically Lt. Drumm and Lt. Anderson. A likely explanation for this could stem from the actors' relationship off-screen.
Ray Collins, who played Lt. Tragg, was twenty-eight years senior to Raymond Burr. Perry (or Burr) using “lieutenant” to address Tragg was a mark of respect.