Friday, February 7, 2014


On the long-running classic 'Perry Mason', five actors seemed to have cornered the market on playing the judges who presided over the courtroom battles between Mason and D.A. Hamilton Burger:
  • Willis Bouchey
  • Morris Ankrum
  • Kenneth MacDonald
  • S. John Launer
  • John Gallaudet
Each of them played a judge on the show for more than twenty episodes each, with Launer taking the lead by racking up 33 credits.

  1. The Case of the Curious Bride (18 October 1958) 
  2. The Case of the Fancy Figures (13 December 1958)   
  3. The Case of the Jaded Joker (21 February 1959)  
  4. The Case of the Howling Dog (11 April 1959)  
  5. The Case of the Lame Canary (27 June 1959)  
  6. The Case of the Spurious Sister (3 October 1959) 
  7. The Case of the Golden Fraud (21 November 1959)   
  8. The Case of the Lucky Legs (19 December 1959)
  9. The Case of the Prudent Prosecutor (30 January 1960) 
  10. The Case of the Nimble Nephew (23 April 1960)   
  11. The Case of the Ill-Fated Faker (1 October 1960)   
  12. The Case of the Loquacious Liar (3 December 1960)  
  13. The Case of the Envious Editor (7 January 1961)   
  14. The Case of the Meddling Medium (21 October 1961)   
  15. The Case of the Injured Innocent (18 November 1961)  
  16. The Case of the Tarnished Trademark (20 January 1962) 
  17. The Case of the Melancholy Marksman (24 March 1962)
  18. The Case of the Counterfeit Crank (28 April 1962)   
  19. The Case of the Hateful Hero (25 October 1962) 
  20. The Case of the Stand-In Sister (15 November 1962)   
  21. The Case of the Libelous Locket (7 February 1963)  
  22. The Case of the Elusive Element (11 April 1963)  
  23. The Case of the Nervous Neighbor (13 February 1964)
  24. The Case of the Ugly Duckling (21 May 1964)  
  25. The Case of the Frustrated Folksinger (7 January 1965) 
  26. The Case of the Thermal Thief (14 January 1965)  
  27. The Case of the Telltale Tap (4 February 1965)   
  28. The Case of the Baffling Bug (12 December 1965)   
  29. The Case of the Fanciful Frail (27 March 1966)  
That's only 29 episodes (in case you were counting.)  But there were four episodes in which his justice actually had a name:
  1. The Case of the Glittering Goldfish (17 January 1959) - Judge Thomas J. Hood  
  2. The Case of the Difficult Detour (25 March 1961) - Judge Ryder 
  3. The Case of the Deadly Verdict (17 October 1963) - Judge Ryder  
  4. The Case of the Vanishing Victim (23 January 1966) - Judge Telford  
Even though his first named judge was Thomas J. Hood, I'm going to say all 29 of those other judges were actually Judge Ryder (since he twice appeared on the bench under that name.)

As to how two other men looked just like Judge Ryder and yet seemed to go unnoticed by those who appeared before his bench, my standard splainin always begins with a shrug.  That's followed by a lame excuse that there must always be something about those characters that marks them as looking different from each other to the TV characters who deal with all of the doppelgangers.  (This happens a lot in long-running series, like Westerns or 'Burke's Law' when Paul Lynde is the guest star.)  However, we in the audience of the Trueniverse can't see these differentiations from the other side of the dimensional vortex.

There was another TV character played by Launer whom I think was one of those identical cousins that appear so frequently in Toobworld.  Ed Rutherford was an attorney in New York who specialized in criminal cases, especially murder cases.  When Tod Crawford was charged in a capital case, Rutherford was hired to be his defense lawyer, but he reluctantly allowed Tod's father, lawyer and former actor Miles Crawford, to conduct the cross-examination of witnesses on the stand.

It could also be that Judges Hood and Telford were also related to Judge Ryder.  If so, then the practice of Law was a major pursuit in that extended family......

'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour' - "Starring For The Defense"


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