William Talman (l) as DA Hamilton Burger and Raymond Burr as Perry Mason (source: VoiceOfBaltimore.org)
Mary and I watch Perry Mason almost every weeknight (11:30 PM weeknights on MeTV). Okay, I watch it until I get tired, Mary usually sleeps through it. I used to watch it with Grandma Holton when I was in high school. It was her favorite show. (Ayn Rand’s, too.) One of the things that we like to do is look for actors we know from other shows. Among others, we’ve seen George Takei (Star Trek), Werner Klemperer and John Banner (Hogan’s Heroes), William Schallert (The Patty Duke Show, among others), Adam West (Batman). and occasionally we see Harry Holcombe as one of the judges. I know what you’re thinking: who’s Harry Holcombe? He’s Grandpa from the Country Time Lemonade commercials.
(Godzilla fans also remember him as a scientist in the spectacular King Kong vs. Godzilla. Come to think of it, Raymond Burr was in the original Godzilla, playing a reporter named Steve Martin, only without the arrow through his head.)
I have one complaint: they never cite anyone for contempt of court. That’s the “offense of being disobedient to or disrespectful towards a court of law and its officers in the form of behavior that opposes or defies the authority, justice, and dignity of the court.” (Wikipedia tells me so.) The trials on the show are full of contempt of court, from people bouncing to their feet to declare that it was (or wasn’t) them who did the dastardly deed, to Hamilton Burger’s exasperated monologues when the judge overrules his objections to some of Perry’s outlandish gambits to prove his clients’ innocence. I guess the judge feels sorry for him. I mean, how would you like to go through life with a name like Ham Burger?
I’d love to see Mason and Burger argue a case in front of Pigmeat Markham.