The Perry Mason story was set in Los Angeles but the crew hardly stayed in one place for filming. Each scene demanded a unique set. Filming could be anywhere in Los Angeles at a given time. On-location filming took place at a few downtown joints or in Culver City. In addition, the crew shot several interior scenes at studios in Tinseltown.
They also shot the façade of the Superior Oil Company Building for Mason’s offices. By season 8, the site for Mason’s office changes to the Bank of California building all the way in San Francisco.
He Didn’t Need Law School?!
Creator Erle Stanley Gardner used to be an unorthodox lawyer. He enrolled to study at Indiana’s Valparaiso University School of Law. After one month, the school suspended him for insufficient attendance. Gardner dropped out but studied independently and passed the California bar in 1911. He loved litigation, but the legal practice in general — not so much.
When the novels and his writing career took off, he quit being a lawyer without a second thought. He took his love for litigation and infused his creations with legal brilliance.
Gardner’s Sole On-Screen Appearance
What do Stan Lee, Alfred Hitchcock, and Quentin Tarantino have in common? Legendary directors — all of them made several hundred cameos in their own movies. Perry Mason’s creator chose to stay away from the screen – save for one episode in the series' 9-season run.
Gardner appears in the final episode of the series “The Case of the Final Fade-Out.” He plays the judge, while the incredible Dick Clark (of "Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve" fame) takes on the role of the murderer. 'Twas a fittingly poetic appearance before the show ended.
The Legacy of the First Perry Mason Novel
"The Case of the Velvet Claws" published in 1933, was the first of the Perry Mason novels. Deceit, death, and blackmail – the book had everything! Inside the pages was history in the making, although nobody knew it yet. The novel set the stage for the sophisticated Perry Mason, whose courtroom brilliance would take over people’s lives.
As the book amassed a loyal fan following, the entertainment industry wanted in on the action. Three years after publication, filmmakers adapted the novel for the big screen. Later, it appeared as an episode in season six of the TV series.
Raymond Burr Couldn't Shake His Character Off
When you watch Perry Mason the series, it’s sometimes hard to tell when Raymond Burr ends and where Perry Mason begins. Burr stayed with the character for 271 episodes (each was an hour-long) and nine seasons! The show wrapped up in 1966, and Burr could finally break from the character — which he did, except destiny had more in store.
Burr returned after a two-decade-hiatus to star as Mason in a series of feature-length films for TV. The series consisted of 30 films, with Burr starring in 26 of them.