The Perry Mason TV Show Book
The History of the Show

Perry Mason Loses Case!

The truth is, Perry Mason didn't win every case. In fact, at least three decisions went against him.

Well, sort of. "The Case of the Witless Witness" begins with a judgment being handed down against Perry by judge Daniel Redmond. Perry's not trying a murder case; it's more likely a matter of civil law. Afterward, the judge even comforts Perry, suggesting he could always go to the appeals court. It turns out that judge Redmond has political aspirations and Perry later successfully defends him on an influence-peddling and murder charge.

In "The Case of the Terrified Typist," a jury returns a guilty verdict against Perry's client, giving Hamilton Burger goose bumps thinking he'd finally beaten Mason. But alas, Perry is still able to clear the defendant.

Perry's most famous "loss" occurred in "The Case of the Deadly Verdict." It's a strange episode. The show uncharacteristically opens in the courtroom. A decision is being handed down. Perry's client is found guilty of murdering her aunt for money, and is sentenced to die in the gas chamber. Stop the presses!

Or, then again, start them up. To pump up interest in this particular episode, which ran in October 1963, Gail Jackson released teasers to the press that September, the official beginning of the 1963-64 season. Foreshadowing publicity stunts to come (remember "Who Shot J.R.?"), Jackson revealed only that Perry's client would be found guilty at the beginning of the episode. As The New York Times said after reviewing the preshow hype and writing that Perry would lose: "Presumably this is the first time in six years that . . . Burr has been called upon to register surprise."

The newspaper also pointed out that the big question was, can "Perry and his client . . . reverse the circumstances just before the final commercial?"

They did.

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The Perry Mason TV Show Book Copyright 1987 by Brian Kelleher and Diana Merrill. All rights reserved. Presented here by permission of the copyright holder. Commercial use prohibited. Web page Copyright 1998 D. M. Brockman. Last edited 04 Nov 2004.