The Good

This show has the ability to really get under your skin.

The Bad

No extras.

Before Blue Velvet there was Perry Mason and in this, Perry Mason: The First Season, Vol. 2, we get 20 episodes of Raymond Burr portraying one of the greatest defense attorneys in history. I bring up the Blue Velvet link because everything about these episodes looks perfect. The clothing, the grooming, the cars, everything. Yet, beneath facade there were evils lurking. Sometimes it was organized crime, sometimes it was deranged human beings, but often it was normal people that were driven to extreme circumstances.

In Perry Mason: The First Season, Vol. 2 we get some doozeys as far as the episodes are concerned. There's "The Case of the One-Eyed Witness" Perry has to rely on said witness to corroborate a woman's whereabouts after her husband and blackmailer are done in. In "The Case of the Substitute Face" Perry comes face to face with a man who is thrown off a ship, and then gets involved with the case when he doesn't buy the story of what happened. All of these shows are so well done, so evenly paced, I sat through this five disc set blown away.


No extras came with this DVD.


Full Screen Format. These shows have been compressed really nicely. The blacks, whites and all the colors in between look sharp. Seeing them on TV at noon every day, the analog episodes don't have the crispness that these discs do. I also think that companies like CBS have gotten a lot better at how they compress these shows. Sometimes, with old black and white TV, you get a weird discoloration when things become too compressed in one area. I didn't notice any of that here.


Dolby Digital - English Mono. I turned the audio on my set up about halfway and everything played fine for all the discs. I love that this show didn't move too fast. That we were able to get to know all the characters so that the action didn't seem like it started until the half way point. In all honesty, I remember thinking in some of the episodes that they were really taking a chance with how they spread the stories out, but everything always came off perfectly.


Light orange is the dominant color on this cover which gives us colorized images from the show. This is misleading, but the images are very rich so I am willing to forgive them (nobody would think this TV show looks like that). The back has more pictures from the show, most of them tinted in orange and white. There is a description of what this 5 disc set contains and some technical specs. All 5 discs are nicely housed inside 3 slim cases, which fit snugly inside this slipcase cover. The artwork contains more colorized pictures, as well as listings and descriptions from each episode. Very solid, straightforward work, CBS!

Final Word

I am trying to figure out what it is about shows from the past that attract me to them?

In the case of Perry Mason, I think that it's being able to see the 1950s, how perfect everything looked, that really grabs me. I know of course that this is TV and not reality, but I think that there is a ruggedness to this show that, like the films of David Lynch, lies just below the surface. As we see this world following Perry Mason, we only dip into that. Lynch takes the situation as it is, and then dives headlong into the darkness of the underbelly.

However, to say that Perry Mason: The First Season, Vol. 2 is light television is missing the point. It's some of the best programming that's ever been on TV and I am thankful that it's still on.

Perry Mason was released .