Friday, September 19, 2008


A bit of serendipiteevee: the other morning at work, I was up in the operator's dungeon where the overnight operator was watching an episode of 'Quantum Leap'. And I passed by just as Sam said that the only thing he knew about the Law came from a TV show whose name he couldn't even remember. At that point his holographic companion Al showed up to say "It's Perry Mason!"

It's not the first time Erle Stanley Gardner's famous literary creation cum TV character legend was cited in another TV show. In the second pilot for 'Columbo', "Ransom For A Dead Man", Leslie Williams sneered at the Lieutenant, "I'm familiar with the 'Perry Mason' school of justice." And on 'Dream On', Toby Pedalbee exclaimed, "I watched 'Perry Mason' a hundred and eighty times and this has never happened!"

This is all easy enough to splain away, Your Honors.

Perry Mason shares the same TV dimension as Toby, Ms. Williams, Dr. Sam Beckett and Al. And as Perry Mason made quite a name for himself as a lawyer in Los Angeles, Colorado, and across the nation, they must have read about him in the papers over the years. It could be that Mason became so famous as a lawyer with such a high recognition factor, that some network executive must have figured he could pull in the ratings with his own show about the law.

And I can cite precedent from the real world proving that lawyers have heeded the lure of a television appearance - William Kunstler, Melvin Belli, Gerry Spence, F. Lee Bailey, Johnnie Cochran, and Robert Shapiro.

So when TV characters talk about Perry Mason being on TV, they're not talking about the TV show we know starring Raymond Burr*. They're talking about the actual character as a "real" person showing up on TV.

As for Leslie Williams' crack about the "Perry Mason School of Justice"? Maybe he had a law school named after him.

Hey; you never know.....

The Defense rests.

Toby O'B

*The Monte Markham version of 'Perry Mason' does not belong in Earth Prime-Time. Although in the Toobworld novel I've been working on, I got some splainin to do about why he existed. And the answer lies in his little finger......

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