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Perry Mason
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TV Series
    Although a defense attorney merely has to establish 'reasonable doubt' about his client's guilt, Mason inevitably fingered the guilty party, usually by getting them to confess on the stand.
    Mason managed to elicit a surprising revelation almost every week, even though, thanks to the discovery process, actual surprises in court are a great rarity.
    Most episodes climaxed during a preliminary hearing instead of a trial to avoid the cost of hiring twelve extras as jurors.
    During the first season, Mason's car kept switching between a Ford Skyliner and a Cadillac convertible as Ford and General Motors alternated as automotive sponsors.
    Burr noted that because of the demands of the series, 'I never went home at night. I lived on the lot. I got up at 3 o'clock every single morning to learn my lines for that day, and sometimes I hadn't finished until 9 o'clock.'
    Three weeks after the producers talked Burr into signing up for a tenth season by promising it would be in color, CBS cancelled the show for failing to beat Bonanza in the ratings.
    Scripts were carefully vetted to avoid legal mistakes.
    'Writer's Digest' noted, 'This show has the reputation among writers as being the hardest one in Hollywood to work for.'
    Executive producer Gail Patrick Johnson hired lots of veteran character actors for supporting roles, noting 'They were grateful and delivered on time -- and powerfully.'
    When Collins was forced to leave the series because of worsening emphysema, his name was kept in the credits to let him know he would still have a job if he got better.
    The last episode featured two murders committed in a TV studio, allowing most of the production crew a chance to appear on camera.
    It was named Favorite Series in the first two readers polls conducted by TV Guide (1960-61).
    In a poll of over 3,000 TV producers and executives, it was named best series of all time (1975).
    During her confirmation hearing, <25939>Sonia Sotomayor<25939> said she was inspired to become a prosecutor by Hamilton Burger telling Mason, 'My job as a prosecutor is do justice and justice is served when a guilty man is convicted and when an innocent man is not.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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