Perry Mason (radio)

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Perry Mason
Perrymason-book-radio.jpg
Genre Crime serial
Running time 15 minutes
Country USA
Language(s) English
Syndicates CBS Radio
TV adaptations The Edge of Night
Starring
Announcer Bob Dixon, Alan Kent, Richard Stark
Creator(s) Erle Stanley Gardner (original stories)
Writer(s) Irving Vendig
Director(s) Art Hanna, Carlo deAngelo, Carl Eastman, Hoyt Allen, Ralph Butler
Producer(s) Tom McDermott
Exec. producer(s) Leslie Harris
Recording studio New York
Air dates October 18, 1943 to December 30, 1955
No. of episodes 3000[1]
Sponsor(s) General Foods, Tide
Podcast stream from Archive.org

Perry Mason is a radio crime serial based on the novels of Erle Stanley Gardner. Broadcast weekdays on CBS Radio from 1943 to 1955, the series was adapted into The Edge of Night which ran on television for an additional 30 years.

Production[edit]

The 15-minute continuing series Perry Mason aired weekdays October 18, 1943 – December 30, 1955, on CBS Radio. Geared more towards action than courtroom drama, it mixed mystery and soap opera, with attorney Perry Mason sometimes even exchanging gunfire with criminals.[2]

Erle Stanley Gardner's literary success with the Perry Mason novels convinced Warner Bros. to try its hand, unsuccessfully, with some motion pictures. However, the Perry Mason radio show stayed on the air for 12 years.

As The Edge of Night, it ran for another 30 years on television, but Gardner disliked the proposed daytime television version due to a lack of his own creative control.[3] He ultimately withheld his endorsement of the daytime TV show, forcing the name change.

Cast[edit]

The actors portraying Mason switched frequently over the first three years of the show's run, starting with Bartlett Robinson, then followed by Santos Ortega and Donald Briggs.[2] John Larkin took over the starring role March 31, 1947, and portrayed Perry Mason until the end of the series.[4]:333

Larkin played the equivalent character on The Edge of Night.

The guest cast included Mercedes McCambridge.[5] Principal cast members are listed in order of portrayal.

Transition to television[edit]

Main article: The Edge of Night

Radio's Perry Mason has more in common, in all but name, with the daytime serial The Edge of Night than the subsequent prime-time Perry Mason television show. As many radio serials moved to television, so was to be the destiny of Perry Mason. However, Gardner disagreed with the direction of the new show and pulled his support.[3] The sponsor, Procter & Gamble hired the writers and staff of the Perry Mason radio series, the show was retooled, and it became The Edge of Night. The characters and setting were renamed. Gardner eventually aligned himself with the nighttime courtroom drama.

The Edge of Night was conceived as the daytime-TV version of Perry Mason. Mason's creator, Erle Stanley Gardner, was to create and write the show, but a last-minute tiff between him and CBS caused Gardner to pull his support. CBS insisted that Mason be given a love interest to placate daytime soap opera audiences, but Gardner flatly refused to take Mason in that direction. Gardner would eventually patch up his differences with CBS and Perry Mason would debut in prime time in 1957.

Two actors who played Perry Mason on radio, Bartlett Robinson and John Larkin, appeared in episodes of the CBS-TV series, Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr.[7]

Broadcast history[edit]

Air dates Time slot
October 18, 1943 – March 31, 1944 2:45 p.m. ET
April 3, 1944 – March 23, 1945 2:30 p.m. ET
March 26, 1945 – December 30, 1955 2:15 p.m. ET

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Larka, Robert (1979). Television's Private Eye: An Examination of Twenty Years Programming of a Particular Genre, 1949 to 1969. Christopher H. Sterling. New York: Ayer Publishing. p. p123. ISBN 0-405-11763-9. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 540. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. 
  3. ^ a b Totenberg, Nina (June 10, 2002). "Perry Mason". Morning Edition. NPR. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  4. ^ Hickerson, Jay, The Ultimate History of Network Radio Programming and Guide to All Circulating Shows. Hamden, Connecticut: Jay Hickerson, Box 4321, Hamden, CT 06514, second edition December 1992
  5. ^ "Perry Mason". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  6. ^ "'Sleuth'". Harrisburg Telegraph. December 7, 1946. p. 19. Retrieved April 26, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  7. ^ "Perry Mason — Full Cast and Crew". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2015-05-08. 

External links[edit]