DVD Review: Perry Mason (Season 7, Volume 2)

People often discuss TV shows that stand the test of time. There’s only one true test for a timeless TV series: what channel is it on? Think of the numerous hour long dramas that have been critically praised over the decades, but only get sporadic listings in TV Guide? What channel shows ER, LA Law or thirtysomething? Perry Mason runs twice a day on ME-TV. People want their legal thriller fix in the mid-morning and after the 11:00 p.m. news. Here’s a black and white show that’s over half a century old yet people can’t get enough of Perry Mason (Ironside‘s Raymond Burr) tearing up D.A. Hamilton Burger (William Talman). For those who have to work during the day and fall asleep after the local weather, don’t fear since Perry Mason: Season 7, Volume 2 has arrived with 15 more episodes.

“The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands” starts off with Joyce Bulifant (Match Game) hiring Perry to hold onto her race track tickets on a long shot. He’s paid to go down to the track if there’s any winnings. The horse wins and Perry goes to the track to collect the fat pot. But a guy at the track claims Joyce’s brother stole the money to make the bets. Later on that guy turns up dead and Joyce now has to hire Perry Mason defend her from murder charges. Don’t people understand that no matter what you hire Mason to do, it’ll eventually flip into a homicide defense? “The Case of the Bountiful Beauty” turns a woman into a best selling novelist thanks to basing a character on her boyfriend’s stepmom. Turns out the stepmom doesn’t appreciate it and wants to sue for libel. Before that case can happen, the stepmom turns up dead and the novelist is the prime suspect. Ryan O’Neal (Barry Lyndon) turns up the boyfriend trapped in the middle.

“The Case of the Nervous Neighbor” is another tale of mom and murder. This time a guy wants to find his missing mom. Paul Drake (William Hopper) finds her, but there’s a complication. The woman swears she’s got amnesia and her husband’s dead. Now the guy has to hire Perry Mason to defend mom. Shame he didn’t use a Groupon. Francis X. Bushman (The Ghost In the Invisible Bikini) has a small role. “The Case of the Fifty Millionth Frenchman” reminds us why it’s bad to give cash to an old lover. In this case, the lover’s husband dies and the loaner becomes the suspect. David McCallum (NCIS) and Jackie Coogan (The Addams Family) get wrapped in the French twist. “The Case of the Arrogant Arsonist” makes the fire chief a suspect in drumming up business. “The Case of the Garrulous Go-Between” warns of fortune telling neighbors with parrots.

“The Case of the Woeful Widower” makes a woman fear her boss is plotting to kill his wife. The boss swears she’s stealing from him. Jerry Van Dyke (Coach) might be evil. “The Case of the Simple Simon” brings Victor Buono (Batman‘s King Tut) onto the case. There’s murder at a touring Shakespeare company. A man thinks he’s seen his dead wife in “The Case of the Antic Angel.” It isn’t her, but the woman turns up dead. He turns up at the defense table with Perry Mason as his lawyer. “The Case of the Careless Kidnapper” has a faked kidnapping turn into a real homicide. Perry has to sort out this prank gone extremely bad. “The Case of the Drifting Dropout” turns a homicide case into counterfeiting and blackmail. Neil Hamilton (Batman‘s Commissioner Gordon) is part of the mutating felonies. “The Case of the Ugly Duckling” puts a rich heiress in the position that if she doesn’t get married, the family business must be sold. Her prime suitor has a dark secret that comes out at the crime scene.

Perry Mason: Season 7, Volume 2 keeps up the goodness as even the simplest of legal procedures turn into homicides. This keeps the action hopping since you’re not quite sure who is going to die at the start of the episodes. Raymond Burr has become so masterful in the role of Mason that you’d almost think about using his techniques in small claims court. His flirting with secretary Della Street (Barbara Hale) has cooled off during their office time. Even though this is an hour long, black and white legal thriller that keeps delivering after 57 years. Perry Mason can still hold an audience even when you know the guilty party in the courtroom.

“The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands,” “The Case of the Bountiful Beauty,” “The Case of the Nervous Neighbor,” “The Case of the Fifty-Millionth Frenchman,” “The Case of the Frightened Fisherman,” “The Case of the Arrogant Arsonist,” “The Case of the Garrulous Go-Between,” “The Case of the Woeful Widower,” “The Case of the Simple Simon,” “The Case of the Illicit Illusion,” “The Case of the Antic Angel,” “The Case of the Careless Kidnapper,” “The Case of the Drifting Dropout,” “The Case of the Tandem Target” and “The Case of the Ugly Duckling.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The black and white transfers look as sharp as Perry’s courtroom tactics. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The gravel tapping comes through clearly. The episodes are subtitled.

There are no bonus features.

Perry Mason: Season 7, Volume 2 contains 15 more cases of legal thrillers. While other legal shows grow more obscure, Perry Mason commands the TV courtroom. He’s outlasted CourtTV. Don’t worry about waiting a year for the next installment. Perry Mason: Season 8, Volume 1 arrives November 27.

CBS DVD presents Perry Mason: Season 7, Volume 2. Starring: Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman and Wesley Lau. Boxset Contents: 15 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released: October 23, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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