Sunday, May 21, 2017


Today would have been Raymond Burr's 100th birthday.  And what better way to pay tribute than to "immortalize" his most famous character in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.

Burr starred in 271 episodes of his eponymous TV series and nearly 20 years later he returned in a series of TV movies, 26 in total.

Those movies could stand as individual entries, but we have another show to help confirm Perry Mason's existence in Toobworld:

"The Jack Benny Program"
Jack on Trial for Murder (5 November 1961)  

Anyone familiar with that episode knows that it was an extended dream sequence in which Jack was on trial for killing a rooster and he was being defended by Perry Mason.

But it was established by another character that Perry Mason was a TV character.  (The first lawyer Jack consulted never went to law school; everything he learned came from watching Perry Mason on TV.)

I have no Zonk objections to this.  As successful a lawyer as Perry Mason was in TV-LA, he was a citizen of Toobworld who was bound to have a TV show made about him.  So many Toobworld citizens do; it's the only way to keep so many TV shows in the same dimension even after they're discussed on other TV shows who share that same world.

(Two quotes about the 'Perry Mason' TV show are used as header quotes for consecutive "episodes" in my Toobworld adventures - one by Leslie Williams in 'Columbo' and from 'Dream On', one by Toby Pedalbee.)

In Toobworld, if there was any mention of Erle Stanley Gardner writing the books in some TV show, again there is no Zonk.  Gardner's televersion didn't create the character; he simply chronicled Mason's cases.  (We saw the same thing splained away with potential Zonks about Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, and especially Arthur Conan Doyle who was Dr. Watson's literary agent.)

As I mentioned above, Perry Mason appeared often in quotes by other TV characters and most of the times it was O'Bvious that the quote was a reference to the TV show (in shows like 'Dobie Gillis', 'Dennis The Menace', 'Gilligan's Island', and 'Sanford And Son'.)

But other times....  I don't get fanatical about it, claiming if the TV show isn't mentioned then it must be about Perry Mason the man.  I think most people associate mentions of the lawyer with his TV portrayal, and some of those people might not even know he exists along with them in the same world. (An inadvertent result similar to what UNReel is always striving for with regards to their projects to disguise the exploits of the Doctor and the men from U.N.C.L.E.)

I think that if the character making the reference to Perry Mason is from California, but especially the Los Angeles area, or is a lawyer themselves or someone who might occasionally rub elbows with such a celebrity, then I think they really were speaking of the actual Perry Mason.

Here were a few examples (gathered from the IMb):

Make Room for Daddy:
Rusty the Rat

When Rusty presents himself as Linda's lawyer, Danny sarcastically calls him "Perry Mason".

One one of his trips to perform out West, Danny Williams may have met Mason at a social function - perhaps at the home of Rod Serling?

The Jack Benny Program:
Main Street Shelter 

Jack sarcastically refers to the ex-lawyer as "Perry Mason".

This happened a year before Jack dreamt of the lawyer.

Mister Ed:
The Bank Robbery 

Wilbur says that his drawing of the robber is so good that even Perry Mason couldn't help him.

Although Ed talked about Mason more, I think Wilbur had to deal with him in real life, perhaps as a client due to something Ed did.

The Brady Bunch:
Lost Locket, Found Locket 

Mike refers to Greg as a junior Perry Mason.

In a reversal, Perry might have been Mike's client, calling on his services as an architect.

This was a good example in which it could go both ways:

My mother-in-law says I look like Perry Mason.
It's not a compliment. 
It means she thinks you're fat.

For Harry, he thinks his mother was comparing him to the actual man.  He might have met Mason in conjunction with an advertising campaign and/or the client.  And although Paul would have met him as well, he would have understood that Harry's Mom would only have the TV show as the frame of reference.

There is one other reason why Perry Mason should be considered a real person in Toobworld who just happened to have a TV show about him.  In one episode, Perry mentioned that he was friends with Rod Serling, the host of the TV show 'The Twilight Zone'.  And the inspiration for the term "serlinguist" (although he was not the first one who could talk to the people in the Trueniverse - that would be more likely George  Burns) is already a member of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame as well, inducted in October of 2009. (Serling may have helped get Perry's life story translated to the small screen.)

And so there you have it.  In the case advocating the induction of Perry Mason into the TVXOHOF, the Defense rests.


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