The origins of product placements in films go back to 1896 when a Lever Brothers representative in France put in a request to feature Sunlight soap in a movie. The 1957 Perry Mason series features product placements in the closing credits.
They would appear as tiny pictures of the product when credits rolled. HBO’s “Perry Mason” also demonstrates this intrusive marketing necessity. Season 1, Episode 8 has a Crush Drink vintage poster on the wall. In Episode 2, Matthew Rhys holds up a Kodak camera for audiences to get a better view.
No Hard Feelings
Every hero needs an excellent sidekick. They also need a worthy nemesis who foils plans and occasionally challenges established worldviews. For Perry Mason, that person was District Attorney Hamilton Burger.
Played by William Talman, Burger perennially loses cases to the wily Mason – regular losses equivalent to rhythmic punches in the stomach for nine entire seasons. You would think that losing all the time would make the attorney bitter, even a little vengeful. But Talman has always maintained that his character never took the losses personally. Attorney Hamilton Burger was happy as long as justice was served.
Mason's High-Tech Cool Car Phone
Perry Mason has an enviable lifestyle. He wears the best clothes and drives a fleet of beautiful vintage cars. What’s more, Mason uses a car phone – very high-tech for the time! Car phones were ultimate symbols that a person had arrived (forgive us the useless pun) — as valuable as the vehicle itself.
Only a handful of TV characters owned car phones then. Mason belongs to this illustrious group alongside other members such as Batman (1966-68), Richard Diamond in "Richard Diamond, Private Detective" (1957-1960), and Peter Gunn in the show of the same name (1958-61).
A US Postal Service Homage
Perry Mason, the series, is no stranger to homages, as evidenced by its adaptations. In 2009, the show received a memorable tribute unlike any other. In honor of classic television programs, the US Postal Service issued a panel of forty-four cent commemorative stamps.
It contained a picture of a seated Perry Mason in a courtroom, with District Attorney Hamilton Burger standing over him. The Postal Service also issued a stunning booklet containing twenty picture postal cards.
The show Outlived Production Venues
It’s worth remembering that the show ran for nearly a decade, and most elements stayed constant during that time. All but one element, that is.
The show utilized three different studios. The early seasons were filmed at the William Fox Studios, which closed in the 60s. Production shifted to General Service studios before moving to the old Chaplin Studios, where production remained until the final season. That's what happens when a show outlives its studios.