Gardner's first short story was rejected for publication by a magazine with the editor leaving a note on the manuscript saying it was the worst story he'd ever read in his life. When the manuscript was returned to Garnder the editor's notes were inadvertently included. Gardner took the comments to heart, re-wrote the story, and then re-submitted it to the magazine. It was accepted for publication.
Unlike the TV series, many of Gardner's Perry Mason novels did not end with a courtroom denouement but with Perry getting his client off the hook and pointing the authorities towards the correct solution of the case.
After his death, Gardner's body was cremated and his ashes were scattered off the coast of Baja, Mexico.
Fellow mystery novelist Rex Stout didn't consider Gardner much of a writer. This could have been a case of extreme professional jealousy as Gardner's novels far outsold Stout's.
Raymond Burr was cast as Perry Mason after Gardner watched a clip of Burr playing a prosecuting attorney in a movie.
In the mid-50's it was estimated that Gardner's novels sold at the rate of 20,000 copies per day.
At the time of his death, Gardner was the most widely translated author in the world.
Gardner never attended law school. He studied law on his own and passed the California Bar Exam in 1911.
Warner Brothers made a series of Perry Mason movies in the 1930s after the success of the original novels. Gardner hated the finished product.
Gardner originally wanted Perry Mason executive producer Gail Patrick Jackson, a former actress, to play Della Street.
Gardner had casting and script approval over the Perry Mason TV series.
Harry S. Truman and Albert Einstein were reportedly fans of Gardner's work.
Gardner founded The Court of Last Resort in the 1950s to review real life cases where judgments appeared to have been in error.
The character of Della Street was based on Gardner's real life secretary whom he later married--Jean Walter.
Gardner never gave a complete physical description of Perry Mason in his novels because he wanted his readers to create their own image.
Gardner was a frequent traveler who enjoyed taking trips to the desert.
Gardner wrote 82 full-length Perry Mason novels including a few after the long running television series had ended.
Gardner's first Perry Mason novel, The Case of the Velvet Claws, was published in 1933.
Gardner also wrote the D.A. series which was the exact opposite of Perry Mason. It featured a heroic district attorney going up against shifty defense lawyers whose clients were always guilty.
Gardner also wrote a series of novels featuring private eyes Bertha Cool and Donald Lam under the pen name A. A. Fair.
Gardner was a successful lawyer in Ventura, CA before becoming a writer.
After a few years, Gardner gave up the tedious task of typing his books himself and began dictating them into a tape recorder. A bevy of secretaries would then type the manuscripts.