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Featured TV on DVD Review: Perry Mason: Season Eight, Volume One

November 25th, 2012

Perry Mason: Season Eight, Volume One - Buy from Amazon

Wow, they are really speeding up the Perry Mason releases. This is the third DVD release for the series since August, while Volume 2 comes out in January. At this pace, the full season Megaset will come out for next Christmas. I love the show, but even the best shows eventually show their age. Is season eight the season things started to suffer on the show? Or can it continue its amazing consistency?

The Show

The season begins with The Case of the Missing Button, in which Button, a little girl, is kidnapped. It's an easy case to solve, as it is a case of a divorce gone wrong. It gets more complicated when the mother is blackmailed. When the blackmailer is killed, things get even more complicated. The Case of the Paper Bullets features a Romeo and Juliette romance between the step-son of one of the candidates for U.S. Senate and the underage sister of the other. Both candidates are also dealing with a land developer who is trying to get a racetrack built. When the step-son is shot, there are a lot of potential suspects. In The Case of the Scandalous Sculptor a pre-Lost in Space June Lockhart is married to a sculptor who has some serious money problems. He even gets his model to pretend to be blackmailing him. However, when the model is murdered, June is arrested. Part of the fun of watching shows like this is looking out for guest stars, so this is a good episode in this regard, but otherwise it is not a very good episode. In The Case of the Sleepy Slayer, Abner Gordon is murdered, despite being 85 years old and very ill. Someone wasn't willing to wait for nature to take its course and there are a lot of suspects, as he was a horrid old man.

A family is waiting for the return of their rich aunt in The Case of the Betrayed Bride. She recently became a widow and they are a little worried about her spirits. They are more worried about the land she inherited, which they are trying to develop, much to the dismay of a rival developer. Both sides are in for a shock when she returns and introduces them to her new husband, her younger husband. The family is convinced he's a gold digger and try to get him to cheat by hiring a French maid to seduce him. However, when he winds up dead, it is the French maid that is accused of his murder. It would be strange to point to her first, but... In The Case of the Nautical Knot a man, Rick, has an accident and is in Mexico recovering, with the help of his pretty nurse, Joanna. His brother and his sister-in-law go to Mexico to get him back, because they think their Uncle, who is running their mining company, is up to no good and there's some evidence this is more than paranoia. On the way back to Los Angeles, the pair get married, but it turns out to be a way to prevent the uncle from completing a merger. Later, when the Uncle is murdered, Joanna is the one accused of the murder. The Case of the Bullied Bowler doesn't have Perry Mason in it, and it is unsurprisingly one of the weaker episodes of the set. I like seeing Mike Connors (a.k.a. Joe Mannix) but it is hard to take an episode seriously when a woman calls a bowling ally a center of corruption and evil. The Case of a Place Called Midnight has Perry Mason in Switzerland, specifically a place called Midnight and gets involved in stolen Nazi loot. It's an unusual case for sure.

The Case of the Tragic Trophy starts with a movie director returning from Mexico and when he is greeted by the press, he announces he is getting married. However, it is just a publicity stunt. Well, not entirely a publicity stunt. He's also using the engagement as a cover for an affair he's having. Unfortunately, he choose the wrong woman as cover, as she's got a vendetta against him. When he shows up dead, the evidence points to her. (On a side note, John Fiedler has a guest appearance in this episode.) The Case of the Reckless Rockhound starts with Carl Bascom returning to the town he once helped destroy. He shut down the mine and left town. Now that the mine is running again, he's come back claiming he's still the co-owner of the mine and demands $1 million from the real owner, Reba Burgess. Needless to say, he winds up dead, shot by Reba's gun. Since Reba is a client of Perry Mason, he offers to help, even though she claims she doesn't need help. That soon changes. In The Case of the Latent Lover, Eric Pollard's life is falling apart. His wife is having an affair, but he refuses to divorce her. He's having seizures. He's forgetting things. He is then arrested for attempting to rob a bank. Then when his wife is murdered... Paul Drake is hired to be an emissary in The Case of the Wooden Nickels. A coin dealer, Minerva Doubleday, is looking to sell a very valuable Civil War coin, but the person who wants to buy it gives very bizarre instructions. Worrying for her safety, she hires Paul Drake to follow them instead. However, this quickly becomes a lot more complicated, as there are other coin collectors interested in the coin, some who are willing to kill. When one of them is killed, Minerva is charged and Perry defends her.

In The Case of the Blonde Bonanza, Della Street is meeting with a young friend of the family, Dianne, and is trying get some last minute exercise in, because Dianne always had the perfect figure. However, when she meets her friend, Dianne, she's eating a lot. Dianne got a job as a model, but she needs to gain 12 pounds. A modeling job where she needs to gain 12 pounds? That's strange enough that Perry Mason wants to investigate and what is disturbing. She wasn't hired by a modeling firm, but by someone who specializes in finding lost heirs, for a cut of their inheritance. This sounds like a scam and when the man winds up dead, Perry Mason agrees to help the young lady. Michael Constantine has a guest role as a P.I. trying to help, because he wants to work with Paul Drake. The Case of the Ruinous Road centers on a case at a construction company. They are having problems going over-budget and their latest job seems even worse, as they might have to tear down a historic home to build a road. The boss thinks that this isn't just bad planning, but that someone at the company might be padding budgets to skim a little for themselves. When the senior engineer accuses the newest hire of being the thief, the young engineer goes to confront his accuser, only to be knocked out. When he comes to, he struggles to go home, not knowing his accuser was dead. Amy Jo Jennings is the folksinger in The Case of the Frustrated Folksinger, who is trying to start a singing career, even though she's an heir to a pharmaceutical company. She gets an agent, who offers her a starring part in a musical, if she invests $50,000 in the production. When the agent gives the part to someone else, she goes to demand her money back. Only, he's dead.

The Extras

Again, there are no extras on the DVD.

The Verdict

Perry Mason: Season Eight, Volume One is perhaps a little weaker than previous seasons, but not by a lot. There are only three or four episodes that are not great, and even they are worth checking out. Overall, the four-disc set is worth picking up.

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Filed under: Video Review, Michael Constantine, John Fiedler, June Lockhart