Perry Mason (radio series)

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Perry Mason
Other namesThe New Adventures of Perry Mason [1]
GenreCrime serial
Running time15 minutes
Country of originUSA
Syndicates CBS Radio
TV adaptations The Edge of Night
AnnouncerBob Dixon, Alan Kent, Richard Stark
Created byErle Stanley Gardner (original stories)
Written byIrving Vendig
Directed byArt Hanna, Carlo deAngelo, Carl Eastman, Hoyt Allen, Ralph Butler
Produced byTom McDermott
Executive producer(s)Leslie Harris
Recording studio New York City
Original releaseOctober 18, 1943 – December 30, 1955
No. of episodes3000 [2]
Sponsored by General Foods, Tide
Podcast stream from

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.



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. [3]

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. [4] He ultimately withheld his endorsement of the daytime TV show, forcing the name change.


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. [3] John Larkin took over the starring role March 31, 1947, and portrayed Perry Mason until the end of the series. [5] :333

Larkin played the equivalent character on The Edge of Night.

The guest cast included Mercedes McCambridge. [6] Principal cast members are listed in order of portrayal.

Transition to television

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. [4] 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. 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.

CBS would eventually acquiesce to Gardner's vision and greenlight an official Perry Mason TV adaptation in 1957. Since this version would air in prime time, it was not bound to the conventions of daytime soaps and would more closely resemble a conventional courtroom drama. 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 as the title character. [8]

Both The Edge of Night and Perry Mason would go on to success in television: the prime time Perry Mason ran for nine seasons (and would be revived in a series of television films in the 1980s that would run until Burr's death). The Edge of Night would run for 28 years on daytime television.

Broadcast history

Air datesTime slot
October 18, 1943 – March 31, 19442:45 p.m. ET
April 3, 1944 – March 23, 19452:30 p.m. ET
March 26, 1945 – December 30, 19552:15 p.m. ET

See also

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  1. "Peruse Clues". Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Harrisburg Telegraph. February 3, 1945. p. 15. Retrieved December 6, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  2. 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. 123. ISBN   0-405-11763-9.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p.  540. ISBN   978-0-19-507678-3 . Retrieved 2019-09-03. Perry Mason, crime serial.
  4. 1 2 Totenberg, Nina (June 10, 2002). "Perry Mason". Morning Edition . NPR . Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  5. 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
  6. "Perry Mason". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  7. "'Sleuth'". Harrisburg Telegraph. December 7, 1946. p. 19. Retrieved April 26, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  8. "Perry Mason — Full Cast and Crew". Internet Movie Database . Retrieved 2015-05-08.