Mason made lawyering look effortless, always tipping the scales in his client’s favor. While a pro in the courtroom, actor Raymond Burr contended with different, more troubling scales in real life. The Hollywood heavyweight needed to shed some extra pounds. We know actors routinely shed or gain pounds for a role, but Burr needed to lose a significant amount.
At 6 ft 2 inches, the broad-shouldered Burr towered over everyone. Although he worked very hard to lose weight, the man was still big, but hey, big people have big hearts!
The One Episode Shot in Color
"Perry Mason" ran for nine glorious seasons. Producers filmed the show entirely in black and white, with the exception of one episode. “The Case of the Twice-Told Twist” was Episode 21 of Season 9 — and the sole episode filmed in color.
The experiments with color were meant to be that – experiments. The show’s creators wanted to dabble in it before the release of Season 10. Sadly, this wasn't meant to be. CBS canceled the show after season 9, leaving us with fond monochrome memories of the most celebrated attorney on TV.
The Music That Made Mason
“Park Avenue Beat” or the show's theme song, was perhaps as iconic as the man. Everyone’s heard it. Most people can instantly recognize the smooth, jazzy brass notes of the opening theme. The very sophisticated groove was composed for the series by the talented Fred Steiner.
The music perfectly captures the lawyer’s personality. The score was so apt that any viewer could vibe with the show just by hearing the tune. When you think of this from a marketing standpoint, this is an ingenious move.
Raymond Burr Didn’t Audition for the Role of Perry Mason
Can you imagine anyone other than Raymond Burr as Perry? The truth is that Burr never intended to audition for the role of Mason. He had his heart set on playing Hamilton Burger, the district attorney who was resolute in his resistance to Mason.
While this is speculatory, some believe Perry Mason’s character may have appeared too mainstream for Burr who came from the world of niche film noir. Erle Stanley Gardner thought differently, and the rest is history.
The Revival Show: The Spectacular Failure
The original Perry Mason show saw incredible success, inspiring a bunch of reboots and adaptations. In 1973, a revival show lazily called “The New Perry Mason” made its debut. Unsurprisingly, the series had no takers. Critics panned it. The actors and producers themselves didn’t seem invested.
Why bother making a show at all? The lackluster successor show ran for an embarrassing half (yes, half!) a season. It goes to show that it's better to leave classics alone! Not everything needs a sequel.