The Duke of Erle
On the Rap Sheet J. Franklin Pierce recommends a Salon site called Re-Viewed. Jeff particularly likes (with one exception) a piece on the Perry Masons by Louis Bayard.
"Leaving aside his criminal misrepresentation of Mason creator Erle Stanely Gardner as a “bad writer” (he wasn’t that at all--Gardner was an author who understood what his audience wanted, and that was punchy prose, thoroughly twisted plots, and dialogue filled with the gams-and-gats slang-speak of his era), Bayard nicely captures the dramatic appeal of Perry Mason, which ran originally from 1957 to 1966. He writes:
"The episodes chosen for the 50th anniversary DVD release boast early appearances by star-hatchlings like Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds and Ryan O’Neal, as well as a bizarre guest-lawyer performance by Bette Davis at her herky-jerkiest. But the shows themselves are still the attraction. Watching them, you may be surprised at how gore-free they are--virtually every murder takes place off-screen--and how unafraid the writers were of boring us with complicated points of law. But there’s a larger and subtler surprise: A show conceived in the Eisenhower era is, for all intents and purposes, a harbinger of 1960s counterculture, the kind of anti-law enforcement, pro-Bill of Rights template that Abbie Hoffman might have scripted."
For the rest of the piece log on to the Rap Sheet and while you're there check out Jeff's own piece on Gardner, one of the finest, smartest assessments of The Man ever written. http://therapsheet.blogspot.com/2007/07/defense-never-rests.html
My own favorite Gardners are the A.A. Fairs and the pulp western-mysytery novelettes known as The Whispering Sands collectively.
Ass I mentioned to Jeff until recently I was able to wrap up my day by watching the early Perry Masons at nine every night. Relaxing and fun. But now some moron has replaced them with a moronic sit-com.