Perry Mason might have been the hottest lawyer in Los Angeles, but he didn’t mind letting his legal eagle smarts soar across America. He didn’t always have to beat up on D.A. Hamilton Burger (William Talman) every week. The dozen cases on Perry Mason: Season 4, Volume 2 has him springing clients from Old West towns, missile bases and the San Diego Zoo. As long as he could drag along P.I. Paul Drake (William Hopper) and secretary Della Street (Barbara Hale), Perry represented anyone that appeared completely guilty.
“The Case of the Wintry Wife” creates the most chilly spouse not played by Joan Crawford. June Vincent has little patience with her inventor husband’s latest device. She beyond dominating. She’s also not thrilled with the knowledge that he’s about to get rich and dump her for a friend. There’s a giant explosion at the inventor’s laboratory. It’s up to Perry to figure who was supposed to be the real victim along with uncovering the actual killer. “The Case of the Barefaced Witness” unites Perry Mason with Batman! Adam West (a few years before he’d become the Caped Crusader) needs help in locating stolen cash after the trail leads to a dead body. The crime takes place in a frontier town that’s celebrating its founding by arresting men who haven’t grown beards. This goofy tradition helps them catch their suspect. Gotham City would have been crime free if Batman and Perry Mason had cruised the streets in the Batmobile.
“The Case of the Cowardly Lion” takes Mason down to the San Diego Zoo for monkey business at feeding time. A baby ape vanishes from the zoo’s hospital. A dentist who works part time for the hospital blames the vet nurse for the escape. He doesn’t have too much time to check his suspicions since he turns up dead in a lion’s den. It’s up to Perry to figure out who killed a man using the King of the Jungle. He also has to prove that the lion is being framed else it’ll get executed with Perry’s paying client. The Case of the Torid Tapestry isn’t about erotic antiques. Although the plot is about a man framed for a destroying antiques in a warehouse fire. He suspects this is pure insurance fraud with fakes being burned. However his main fraud suspect turns up dead and he’s the law’s main suspect. He hires the original Perry Mason to save his rump from the fire.
“The Case of the Violent Vest” takes us to the original world of Mad Men. An advertising executive gets frisky with a model and turns up dead. “The Case of the Misguided Missile” makes Perry brush up on his military law. There seems to be industrial sabotage during rocket launches at Vandenburg Air Force base. A pal of Perry’s gets accused of killing the investigating officer (Kolchak: The Night Stalker’s Simon Oakland). One of the suspect is William Schallert (The dad on Patty Duke Show). In order to keep a sense of mystery, Perry Mason rarely shows the homicides which is a shame since Oakland might have looked good taking a deathblow in the desert. “The Case of the Grumbling Grandfather” makes us suspect Gavin MacLeod (The Love Boat) is a killer. “The Case of the Guilty Clients” guides a bitter couple from divorce court to criminal court when they become the people of interest in the death of a mutual friend. Can felony charges rekindle their romance?
Perry Mason: Season 4, Volume 2 gets us closer to the halfway point of the series that lasted nine seasons on the original run. The boxset once more reminds us that even outside of his Los Angeles turf, this was not an advantage to opposing district attorneys. Other lawyers might plea bargain in an alien courtroom. Perry knew his clients didn’t pay him for a reduced sentence. His job was to let them walk free and nail the truly guilty so the law wouldn’t be breathing down their neck for revenge. He was like the Harlem Globetrotters where he acted like the visiting team with Paul and Della. He’d go into a lion’s den for a client while a lesser lawyer would push their clients into a viper pit.
“The Case of the Wintry Wife,” “The Case of the Angry Dead Man,” “The Case of the Blind Man’s Bluff,” “The Case of the Barefaced Witness,” “The Case of the Difficult Detour,” “The Case of the Cowardly Lion,” “The Case of the Torid Tapestry,” “The Case of the Violent Vest,” “The Case of the Misguided Missile,” “The Case of the Duplicate Daughter,” “The Case of the Grumbling Grandfather” and “The Case of the Guilty Clients.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The black and white transfers are good. There seems to be more smutz on the frame on dissolves. Must have been a dusty optical house. The frame detail is still tight so you’ll get a clue what the San Diego Zoo looked like in 1961. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The levels will let you hear justice being served at the end of each episode. No subtitles, but the episodes are Closed Captioned.
Perry Mason: Season 4, Volume 2 has a dozen cases that contain enough change ups to keep you guessing which suspect will confess in the courtroom. The use of real exterior locations open up the series. Perry’s visits to the zoo and an air force base aren’t just more redecorated backlot locations. Another solid end to a season of the greatest fictional legal wizard.
CBS DVD presents Perry Mason: Season 4, Volume 2. Starring: Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale and William Hopper. Boxset contents: 12 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released on DVD: December 8, 2009. Available at Amazon.com