Thursday, September 23, 2021

What Might've Been: The Case of The Telltale Trunk (The New Perry Mason, 1973)

 The New Perry Mason tried to recapture the spirit of the original series, but there was a huge problem.

At the time this series aired, reruns of the original were airing in syndication, and, coincidentally, the then-CBS affiliate here, now an ABC affiliate, ran reruns before the 6 pm news. Couple that with Raymond Burr having established another iconic sleuth in NBC's Ironside, and this show was doomed.

Monte Markham, a talented actor, had headlined two failed sitcoms for Screen Gems in the late 60's (The Second Hundred Years and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town). Mason was his first attempt as a dramatic lead after having appeared on dramas like The Bold Ones after Deeds was axed. Unfortunately, he had an uphill battle, made worse by the fact that this show had The F. B. I. and The Wonderful World of Disney for competition most weeks.

In this sampler, Richard Anderson (The Six Million Dollar Man), who joined the cast of the original Mason near the end of its run for a few episodes, guest stars, along with Keenan Wynn and Mary Ann Mobley. Not seen is Brett Somers (Match Game), who made a few appearances as Perry's oft-unseen secretary, Gertie.

Edit, 11/15/21: The video has again been deleted, as the poster lost his account. We'll wait for a new copy if at all possible.

On any other night, as long as it wasn't opposite Ironside, maybe this stood a better chance. Markham would continue on the guest star circuit, but never headlined his own show again.

Rating: B.


Mike Doran said...

What many people fail - or refuse - to notice is that the staff/crew of The New Perry Mason is a direct carryover from the original series.

Check the credits:
Executive Producers: Cornwell Jackson (Erle Stanley Gardner's longtime friend and agent) and Gail Patrick (Jackson's ex-wife and EP of the original series).
Producers: Art Seid (line producer of the OS for most of its run) and Ernie Frankel (co-head writer for the final season).
Director of several eps: Arthur Marks (Art Seid's producing partner for the OS -see above).
More than a few writers and directors from the OS came back for this one - and if CBS hadn't panicked (which was becoming a trend in the business at this time) and pulled the plug, doubtless many more would have.

The Quick Yank was coming into vogue at the network level in a big way; these days it's a way of life - and at no time should it be regarded as having anything to do with the quality of the shows involved.

Given at least a full season, Monte Markham and his crew just might have pulled off a successful "reboot" (not a term of the time, but you know what I mean).
Unfortunately, patience started to go out of style back then - and we know the rest ...

hobbyfan said...


Would you agree they would've been better served putting this on a different night? A lot of quick hooks are because some shows that have promise have that promise snuffed out by being booked opposite bigger hits (i.e. FBI).

I knew the itchy triggers were starting to become a thing when I was in high school.