Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Classic Reborn: The New Perry Mason (1973)

It's hard replacing a legend. Harder still when you're filling the shoes of a second legend in doing so.

20th Century Fox had acquired a license to produce The New Perry Mason for CBS in 1973, seven years after the original series with Raymond Burr had signed off into syndication. Monte Markham (ex-The Second Hundred Years) was cast as Mason, with Harry Guardino as Hamilton Burger. All well & good, except that CBS put the series on Sundays, trying to fill yet another void, this one created after The Ed Sullivan Show had ended two years earlier. Markham ended up getting nearly 4 months before the plug was pulled, and it would be 12 years before Burr was called back into duty as Mason, this time in a series of TV-movies for NBC, which we previously covered.

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magicdog said...

This was a classic case of too soon. Burr was and is so memorable in the role of Perry Mason that it's tough to envision anyone else. Doing so when that series went off the air just 7 years earlier was begging to get its lumps!

There's a reason Burr was asked back for the Mason TV movies and the 80s and 90s.

hobbyfan said...

So true. With Ironside airing on a different night, CBS wasn't willing to try a direct battle, but Sunday wasn't exactly the answer, either.

A revival today would get lost amidst all the procedurals......