The most famous of the three policemen regularly featured on the Mason series was the wry, dry-witted Lieutenant Arthur Tragg. Although not as prominent, Tragg was in reality an even bigger loser than his boss, Hamilton Burger. After all, whereas Burger was guilty only of losing every case he brought to court against Perry Mason, Traggand his later counterpartswas guilty of making all those false arrests.
The screen was nothing new to actor Ray Collins when he came to "Mason" to play Lt. Tragg. He had appeared in more than fifty movies starting in the 1940s, and had starred on radio and the stage.
Collins was born in 1890, and his career began at age six in Sacramento, California. His show-biz destiny was no doubt helped in good part by the fact that his father worked on the Sacramento Bee as that newspaper's drama editor.
Collins worked vaudeville with his wife, Joan, in his younger days before doing legitimate stock and, eventually, Broadway. He spent time in New York City during the thirties doing radio, but returned to his native California in the forties to join Orson Welles's famous Mercury Theater group. This move west would begin an extensive movie and television career.
He played in The Grapes of Wrath in 1940 with Henry Fonda and in Citizen Kane in 1941 with Welles. His long list of movie credits includes: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946); The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947); The Hitler Gang; Francis; Kill the Umpire (1950); and The Desperate Hours (1955). He was a regular in the Ma and Pa Kettle movies in the early fifties.
Webmaster's Note: Alan K. Rode points out that Ray Collins did not appear in The Grapes of Wrath. Filmography here. Ric Burger recommends the 1951 film The Racket, a nice bit of noir, that features both Ray Collins and William Talman in interesting roles.
|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 27 Mar 2006.|