Perry Mason

Season 1 Episode 1

The Case of the Restless Redhead

Aired Saturday 7:30 PM Sep 21, 1957 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
52 votes
  • i'll called this one werid

    first perry mason and the first werid one out of the hundreds of perry mason episodes. but i found it to be unusally werid but that's ok :---) First episode to declare that it's unusally different. but good detective work by perry mason so i give the full ten rating of this case
  • Good start to the series, except a few flaws.

    I just watched this first episode of Perry Mason. As I was watching it, I was a little confused about the plot, as well as why the woman was arrested at all. They had absolutely no evidence against her. She shot at the car/man on a lonely road, there were no witnesses to place her at the scene of the crime. The only way the police even know she exists is because Mason shows up at the scene of the crime. The police interrogate the woman when Mason is not present. I don't think they even had a motive for her killing him. I think if a woman wanted to kill someone, they last thing they would do is shoot him from her car as they were driving on a winding mountain road.

    Nonetheless, the episode was interesting and I will continue to watch the series.
  • Court is now in session.

    The grand-daddy of all legal shows gets off to a start.

    There's nothing particularly "first episode" specific to "Restless Redhead;" like many 1950s and 1960s shows, "Perry Mason" hits the ground running. But it does introduce us to our core cast and reveals small bits about each of them. When we first see Perry, he's in the office, relaxing (no necktie!) and perusing a law book. Della is willing to make the late-night visit to the office ("we never close.") Paul would rather keep playing cards, but doesn't refuse Perry's request. Tragg is crotchety and just looking for a chance to nail Mason. And Burger is the hapless prosecutor, who looks downright befuddled as Mason runs circles around him in the climactic hearing.

    The cast is solid, but the mystery I found to be too convoluted for its own good. I was impressed, however, with how much of his own legwork Perry actually does in this episode. All Paul Drake really has to do is check the serial number on the murder weapon. Still, it's a lot to cram into 50 minutes, and the business about the multiple guns and robbery charge is a bit unwieldy. All in all though, a good start to the series. I wonder if, since this episode was adapted from one of the novels if some story points were lost in translation.

    I watched this episode after reading the book. Unfortunely, I taped the episode off of the Hallmark Channel. When the Hallmark Channel broadcast the Perry Mason episodes a few years ago, they chopped each episode up quite a bit to make room for more commercials. In this episode, they edited it so much that they edited the character of Helene Chaney right out of the episode. The cast resume says Gloria Henry of Dennis the Mennace fame plays Helene Chaney, but I will have to take their word for it because at no time do I glimpse this woman on the screen. In the book there is a scene at the beginning where Evelyn Bagby is accused of stealing jewels from Helene Chaney and is acquited. I do not know if this scene has been cut out or if it was just never filmed, but it does not appear. Other than that the episode is excellent. There is much fine location shooting in and around Los Angeles. Most shows take a while to find their way, but Perry Mason was a fine show right out of the box. I would recommend buying the DVD box set of the first season just to have this episode, but beware of the Hallmark Channel episodes.
  • One of the best of all TV series premiere episodes, we are introduced to all the main characters and Perry's style as a criminal defense attorney.

    After having lost nearly 80 pounds, Raymond Burr was now ready to assume the role of his career. This first episode of Perry Mason remains both faithful to the novel by Erle Stanley Gardner and has a wonderful sense of realism and quality in all characters and localtions, supported by the huge (for the time) budget allotted to each episode by CBS. Burr lets us see from the beginning his edgy, moving style and dedication to the character, along with the high-quality performances from Barbara Hale as Della Street, and Bill Talman as Hamilton Burger. Perhaps the actor who changed the most over the course of the 271 episodes and nine years was Bill Hopper, as Paul Drake, Perry's erstwhile private detective. It is wonderful to watch again and again (I own nearly all the uncut network prints) the ease with which this cast worked. Talk about ensemble! Add to that the fantastic performance by one of the finest character actors of his generation, Vaughn Taylor, and the solid portrayal of Lt. Tragg by veteran Ray Collins, and you have, indeed, one of the best premiere episodes ever. The editing was first-class, the way it would be for a feature film, and the detail work was always the best. Gardner would let them get away with no less. Take for example the scenes on "Sunset Canyon Road" and notice and appreciate the realism, the timing, and the flawless editing. One can see why the usual shooting schedule was 6 solid days per episode. Perry, Della, and Paul became instantly part of America's TV family. Two things also appear here for the only time: Paul Drake's apartment (we surmise) where he in a late night poker game when he is called to trace a Perry's client's gun, as the case begins. Also, the rare appearance of Sgt. Holcomb of the homicide sqaud.

    The much-imitated and satirized "last-minute" confessions and murder solutions were given their start here in this first show. From a legal standpoint Gardner (who was himself an attorney) knew that Mason had to approach the final cross-examination carefully and slowly, as to not spook the guilty party, and then pounce when he knew he was right. That famous Raymond Burr "spin-around", with the question, "Did you ever see.... THIS before?!", as he brandishes the murder weapon to the character of Lewis Bowles (Mr Taylor) on the stand. He tries to evade (they always did) but then Perry trips him up by referring to hotel "registry cards" that Bowles had earlier denied the existence of.

    As someone who has seen this episode maybe 500 times, I get something new out of it every time. Series like Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, and others of the time, proved that television could be a real art form.