The Perry Mason TV Show Book
The History of the Show

Remember That Music?

The show had many trademarks--a sure sign of a winning TV series. The theme music was just one. That stirring, ultradramatic opening is unmistakable. (The sequence: Rise to holding note, two-punch trumpet. Extra-long pause. Rise to holding note, three-punch trumpet.) Then the song slips into a sexy, saxophone-to-full-brass glove, covered with whirlwind strings. The high chopping jazz piano adds just the right touch. It was like fifties, man--real cool. Credit Fred Steiner for composing one of TV's most recognizable theme songs.

So too, the show's opening sequences--more than a half dozen in all--were little classics of their own, although critic Cleveland Amory, never a friend of the show, once wrote that Burr appeared to do his best acting in these openings. (He apologized to Burr via a favorable review of "Ironside" several years later.)

However, the best known signature of the show is Perry's supposedly spotless record. Over and over people wondered, How could he possibly win every case?

Once when a fan asked Raymond Burr the big question, he replied: "But madam, you only see the cases I try on Saturday." When TV Guide asked Burr the same question, he said: "Perry is rather judicious in picking his clients and happens to believe correctly. What would you want us to do? Send an innocent man to the chair?" For his part, Erle Stanley Gardner was dead set against having Mason ever lose, simply because he didn't want his alter ego working sixty hard TV minutes for a guilty party.

Webmaster's Note: A message from Edward Opack suggests that "Park Avenue Beat" was the original title of the theme music. A note on the Perry Mason page at the Classic Themes website says that this title has been "verified in correspondence with the composer."


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.