Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Judges of Perry Mason

After painstaking hours of research, I've created a gallery of the 11 actors who appeared most often as judges on the Perry Mason TV show, which ran from 1957 to 1966. I've been watching the show on a local classic TV channel, and decided the judges deserved more credit than they got in their day. There were several other judges on the show, but these are the 11 with the most appearances. If anyone wants me to create similar galleries of recurring-role TV performers, let me know.



11
Byron Morrow, 7 Episodes



10
Frank Wilcox, 8 Episodes


9
Nelson Leigh, 9 Episodes



8
Charles Irving, 11 Episodes

7
Richard Gaines, 14 Episodes

6
Grandon Rhodes, 16 Episodes

5
John Gallaudet, 20 Episodes


4
Morris Ankrum, 22 Episodes

3
Willis Bouchet, 23 Episodes

2
Kenneth R.MacDonald, 32 Episodes


1
S. John Launer, 33 Episodes



Special Recognition

Lillian Bronson, 3 episodes
(Only female judge)

24 comments:

Dottie D said...

Awesome! I used to watch reruns of that when I was a kid.

khazar-khum said...

METV is da bomb.

Loved watching PM while recovering from my busticated neck. I kind of pities the DA. First, his folks name him 'Hamilton Burger', then he has to deal with Mason. Guy couldn't buy a break.

Unknown said...

Did any real judges ever serve?

Anonymous said...

According to IMDB website, the only men, among these 11 with experience of the law professions,were Frank Wilcox and Morris Winslow Ankrum. The mother of Mr. Wilcox was a law clerk. Mr. Ankrum was actually a law school graduate, attorney and economics professor before he changed his career to acting. KR in Montana

Anonymous said...

Another lawyer, although not a judge, appeared as an actor playing the jurist. He was the author, Erle Stanley Gardner in the last episode of the first Burr series titled "Final Fade-out" - the story in which newcomer Dick Clark played the villain murderer. KR in Montana

PS: Other Mason trivia is found on:
https://www.robertreeveslaw.com/blog/21-amazing-bizarre-facts-perry-mason/

Unknown said...

All men but there was one female judge who appeared in more than one episode and you seem to have overlooked the importance of a woman judge so early in tv. The actress who played that role was Lillian Bronson.

Evil Editor said...

According to IMDB, Lillian Bronson played the judge once each in 1958, 1959 and 1960 . . . after playing one of the suspects in The Case of the Sulky Girl (1957).

Anonymous said...

The judge in the episode, "The Case of the Skeleton's Closet", which originally aired on May, 2, 1963, was played by a real judge, Vince Monroe Townsend Jr. Remarkably, Vince Townsend was a Black man, who IMHO, bears a resemblance to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, figuratively and literally! He only appeared in one episode

Anonymous said...

More info about Vince Townsend and other Perry Mason oddities are found here:

https://reelrundown.com/tv/Perry-Mason-The-Case-of-the-Silent-Black-Judge-and-More

Unknown said...

My favorite was Kenneth MacDonald. Enjoyed him as various villain type characters on many Three Stooges episodes earlier in his career.

Unknown said...

You forgot Lillian Bronson in your list of judges, the only female, who appeared in at least 4 episodes...

Unknown said...

Bouchet, MacDonald and Launer are my favorite judges.
A question about Perry Mason/Raymond Burr: In the courtroom, and sometimes outside, as he is talking he is constantly moving his hands, clinching them, then into one fist, and just figetting Was this a habit of what Perry did or a habit of Raymond Burr's?

Evil Editor said...

Maybe when he was being taught acting he kept his hands still and was told that didn't look natural.

Unknown said...

Why are no gavels used...only pens?

Unknown said...

Didn't Earl Stanley Garner play the judge just once?
Hard to find the Judges' character names.

Evil Editor said...

Yes, in The Case of the Final Fadeout, the last episode in the CBS series (1966).

Anonymous said...

Several formats were used for opening credits, one of which employed an actor as the judge passing a document to Raymond Burr. Would anyone know who that actor was? Evil Editor is so correct that all the judges deserve more recognition than they received in this remarkable series.

Neal Aitken said...

Yes. In the last episode.

Carl Moore said...

Similarly in McHale's Navy, various older men step in (as Admiral, not judge).

Back to Perry Mason: I know the list provided here must be incomplete, because you have no women and there is at least one episode with a woman judge. Any other omissions?

Evil Editor said...

Plenty of other omissions. As it says in the opening paragraph, these are the actors with the 11 most appearances as judges. However, I've now added Lillian Bronson's photo, as she deserves recognition as a groundbreaking female judge.

elijahlieberman said...

You might have also mentioned the names of the judges, when they were given.
For example, Kenneth MacDonald was Judge Hartley, S. John Launer was Judge Telford, Morris Ankrum went by several names.

Greg G. said...

There was one Black judge, who didn't have any speaking iines in his appearance.

Unknown said...

Season 6 Episode 26, judge is NOT listed in credits?..Would like to know the name if possible .

Evil Editor said...

Daniel Elam