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becke_davis
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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

Continued...

 

Indeed, he was a one-man fiction factory, pounding out well over a million words a year, including a full novelette every three nights, and at the same time running a law firm by day and res in court. Gardner had an extremely pragmatic, down-to-earth view of his writing talent and often spoke of marketing his stories in much the same way cookies and cakes are sold by a grocer. Each year he tried to improve his product, nmking his material more salable.

By June of 1931 Gardner and his wife had embarked on a six-month tour of China at the invitation of a prominent mandarin family in Canton. This was a period of serious unrest for China, caught between aggression from Japan on one hand and the threat of a civil war on the other. Out of this seething intrigue, Gardner created a new pulp hero for Argosy: Major Copely Brane, "International Adventurer." The author's own adventures in China rivaled those of his new hero. He was accused of being an American spy and placed under arrest, he was pursued by river pirates, he was caught in a typhoon in Macao, and he came very close to being kidnapped when he walked the streets of Canton without an escort. Yet through it all, Gardner kept the "fiction factory" at full boil, completing eight novelettes each month he was in China and scribbling "a mountain of notes" for future stories.

The year 1932 proved to be a major turning point in Gardner's career. He found that replacing his typewriter with a Dictaphone not only increased his output but also eliminated the strain of typing each manuscript. Gardner began to dictate his stories on wax cylinders, turning them over to his secretary for transcription. He would then make hand corrections on the typed copy before sending it out to market. By this time Gardner was in his forties, and with a dozen years of short fiction behind him, he was determined to try a novel. Dictation made this longer form much easier, and in just five days he completed a seventy- thousand-word work, "Reasonable Doubt. Then he quickly dictated a second full-length novel titled "The Silent Verdict."  The protagonists in both, Ed Stark and Sam Keene, were lawyers- tough, wisecracking characters presented in the typical pulp tradition.

Both novels were rejected by several New York publishers before finding a home with Thayer Hobson, president of William Morrow and Company. Gardner's agent wrote to him quoting Hobson's editorial opinion: "The lawyers in your two books are quite different... he thinks you might combine their qualities to advantage [and] use the same character over and over again a la Sherlock Holmes (Fugate,p. 176). Hobson followed up with a personal letter to Gardner in which he expressed concern over some of the pulpish aspects contained in both works. "Make your lawyer... more subtle and a little less hard-boiled (Eu gate, p. 177)."  He also asked Gardner to come up with a name that would be more acceptable to a book audience. Stark and Keene were too much in the pulp mode. As a boy, Gardner had subscribed to a magazine called the Youth's Companion. The publisher's logo was printed in bold letters on the cover of each issue: "PERRY MASON AND COMPANY,"  Boston, Mass. The perfect name had been found-and one of the most famous characters in crime fiction was born.

 

Perry Mason

There was still the matter of titles.. Ideally, the title of one novel should provide a link to the next. Gardner harked back to a series of 1920s Speed Dash novelettes printed in Top Notch as The Case of the Misplaced Thumbs, "The Case of the Candied Diamonds," and "The Case of the Crushed Carnation". He decided to use this same title pattern for the new Perry Mason series. "Reasonable Doubt became The Case of the Velvet Claws (1933), and "The Silent Verdict became The Case of the Sulky Girl (1933).



 

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

The biography I've been quoting goes on for several more pages. You can read the rest here:

http://www.phantombookshop.com/erlestanleygardner/nolan1.htm

 

Erle Stanley Gardner's Wikipedia page is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erle_Stanley_Gardner

 

There's a Wikipedia page for Perry Mason, too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Mason

 

There's a lot more, but it starts out with:

 

Perry Mason is a fictional character, a defense attorney who was the main character in works ofdetective fiction authored by Erle Stanley Gardner. Perry Mason was featured in more than 80novels and short stories, most of which had a plot involving his client's murder trial. Typically, Mason was able to establish his client's innocence by implicating another character, who then confessed. Gardner, who was one of the best-selling authors of all time, had "135 million copies of his books in print in America alone in the year of his death" in 1969.[1] The character of Perry Mason was portrayed each weekday on a long-running radio series,[2] followed by well-known depictions on film and television, including "television's most successful and longest-running lawyer series"[3] from 1957 to 1966 starring Raymond Burr; another series in 1973–1974, starring Monte Markham and Brett Somers; and 30 made-for-TV movies filmed from 1985 to 1993.[4]

 

 

 

 

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

Robert Downey Jr. To Lead 'Perry Mason': 1930s Crime-Solving District Attorney

 

Downey

 

Looks like "Sherlock Holmes" isn't enough of a crime-solving fix for Robert Downey Jr.

Warner Bros is planning a film revamp of "Perry Mason" series which, according to Variety, Downey is looking to play the district attorney lead and, along with his wife, will also produce the flick.

 

For those unfamiliar, "Perry Mason" had a lengthy life before being turned into a 1960s television show, starring Raymond Burr. Set against the backdrop of gritty 1930s Los Angeles, it began as a book series by Erle Stanley Gardner, was converted into a radio series and spawned several TV and full-length movies.

 

The new script is to be based on an original story penned by Downey and executive producer David Gambino. The revamp will keep the fabric of the original series intact with its setting and classic characters like secretary Della Street and the P.I. Paul Drake.

 

If all goes according to plan, this could turn into another franchise for the actor, alongside "Sherlock Holmes" and "Iron Man."

 

For a lesser man, we'd be worried.

 

For more, click over to Variety.

 

 

 

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

Whew - okay, I think this is more than enough to get us started. If you search "Perry Mason" on YouTube, you can find full episodes of the TV shows plus a gazillion other related videos.

 

There are a lot more books than I posted links to, but many (most) are out of print. 

 

I know I missed a lot of links, so feel free to add anything interesting you find!

 

Have at it!!

 

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

I was a devoted fan of the TV series in its original run, but it didn't dawn on me until decades later that the name "Hamilton Burger" is a puerile and obvious pun. Then I found this:

 

From the Wikipedia article on Hamilton Burger:

Hamilton Burger is the fictional Los Angeles district attorney who is the nemesis of Perry Mason in the long-running series of novels, films, and radio and television programs featuring the fictional defense attorney created by Erle Stanley Gardner. The name is a pun; shortening "Hamilton" to the popular nickname "Ham" would produce "ham-burger".

Hamilton Burger first appeared in Erle Stanley Gardner's 1935 novel, The Case of the Counterfeit Eye, the 6th novel in his Perry Mason series. Mr. Burger is described in the Cast of Characters of that novel as an "honest but stubborn" D.A. He first appears in the 10th chapter of that novel, where he is described as "a broad-shouldered, thick-necked individual with a close-cropped moustache." In the 15th chapter of The Case of the Caretaker's Cat we learn that Burger's residential address is 3297 West Lakeside, and his phone number is Exposition 96949.

Critics have suggested that Burger must have been the most incompetent lawyer in history (see Mad Magazine's parody, "The Day Perry Mason Lost a Case"), as his cases inevitably involved prosecuting the wrong, innocent person who was defended by Mason, who always in the end revealed the true criminal through a series of inadmissible courtroom tricks. Burger's bag of tricks was comparatively empty, chiefly comprising indignant exclamations of, "Incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial!" Once Mason had outed the true perpetrator, Burger always joined in Mason's motion to the judge to dismiss the charges against Mason's client so that Burger could then charge the actual wrongdoer. A scene from the TV series in which Mason consoles Burger after such a dismissal inspired a young Sonia Sotomayor to become a prosecutor.

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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

Great intro to Erle Stanley Gardner and his Perry Mason books, becke.

In particular, I enjoyed that clip of Mr. Gardener on What's My Line?. Loved his answer to Jim Backus' question of "Would you consider yourself one of the ten top novelists?" Gardner replied, " I would, but Mr. Cerf wouldn't." Hee Hee.

 

BTW, as a reminder of who Jim Backus is, he's the voice of Mr. Magoo and played Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island.

 

Anyway, back to ESG. I don't know how you found that clip, but it was great to actually SEE  and HEAR what the author of those books was like! Now I'm going back to watch some of those clips with Raymond Burr!

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

P.S. I think it is very interesting that Robert Downey, Jr. is considering playing Perry Mason in a film. As for me, the answer to the question, "Would you consider seeing a film with Robert Downey Jr. playing Perry Mason?"  is a big YES!

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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Re: American Mystery Classics: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

 


Sun_Cat wrote:

I was a devoted fan of the TV series in its original run, but it didn't dawn on me until decades later that the name "Hamilton Burger" is a puerile and obvious pun. Then I found this:

 

From the Wikipedia article on Hamilton Burger:

Hamilton Burger is the fictional Los Angeles district attorney who is the nemesis of Perry Mason in the long-running series of novels, films, and radio and television programs featuring the fictional defense attorney created by Erle Stanley Gardner. The name is a pun; shortening "Hamilton" to the popular nickname "Ham" would produce "ham-burger".

 

________________________________________________

 

How funny, Sun_Cat! Like you, I've watched the Perry Mason TV series for years, and read many of the books by Gardner as well, but I had never picked up on the pun in  Burger's name!

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie