Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Raymond Burr
PERRY MASON Season 8. 1965.

Perry (Raymond Burr) and the gang are back for another season of this highly popular courtroom drama -- one of the best seasons in the series' long history. Phyllis Hill and Robert Brown give outstanding performances in "The Case of the Sleepy Slayer," a clever story in which a woman must live with her hated uncle. "Wooden Nickles" with Will Kuluva features skulduggery over a valuable confederate coin. "Ruinous Road" examines the hoopla over tearing a house down to build a needed thoroughfare. Joyce Meadows [Brain from Planet Arous] and Gary Crosby appear in "Frustrated Folksinger," about a show biz dilettante accused of murdering an exploitative agent. "Thermal Thief," in which a woman tries to honor her late husband despite complications, features fine performances from Joyce Van Patten and Barry Sullivan [Queen Bee]. Jeanne Bal scores as a viciously scheming woman in "Tell Tale Tap." Minerva Urecal [Who's Guilty?] shows up in "Lover's Gamble" about a doctor with romantic issues. "Murderous Mermaid" has an Esther Williams-type dealing with a show biz hopeful and a strange publicity plot. In "Careless Kitten," in which there is no trial or even a courtroom sequence, Perry investigates whether or not a man missing for ten years is still alive, and confronts suspects in a living room; Percy Helton and an excellent Louise Latham [Marnie] are in the cast. In the season's most bizarre moment, Perry faces down a big ape in "Grinning Gorilla" with Victor Buono [Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte] and Lurene Tuttle [The Manitou]. And there were many other memorable episodes.

Verdict: Still one of the most enjoyable and well-acted programs ever made. ***1/2.

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