There's a simple reason you don't see a jury much on Perry Mason. Well, two reasons.

For a legal drama, you sure don't see a lot of juries.

The vast majority of Perry Mason episodes end up in the courtroom. The pioneering legal drama helped shape the genre — and it even influenced how many Americans viewed the legal system. There is a very real legal theory called "Perry Mason syndrome," which explains how some jurors expect "A-ha!" moments on the stand thanks to the clever, if unrealistic, scripting they had seen on the television show. 

But here's something you might not have taken note of. There really are not many juries on Perry Mason at all. A whopping 54 actors portrayed the 278 judges credited on the series. You can easily count the juries with your fingers.

Why is that? Well, the first explanation is rather obvious — most of the courtroom scenes on Perry Mason are preliminary hearings. They simple are not jury trials. Still, there are some jury trials here and there, largely in the first season. In fact, the first jury seen appears in "The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece," the second episode of the series. "The Case of the Daring Decoy," later that first season, features the jury seen above.

Just a quick side note about the jury in "Daring Decoy." You might recognize the old lady who handles a pistol with disgust in the jury box. She is an unknown extra seen in dozens upon dozens of Perry Mason episodes. We wrote about her recently here. Take a look:

Anyway, there is another simple reason juries did not appear much in Perry Mason: money.

"CBS knew that besides enhancing Perry's reputation, it could also save money not have to pay twelve extras to play jurors in every episode," the Perry Mason TV Show Book explained. 

That's right — it simply costs more to have 12 random actors sit around the set for an episode.

Oh, one more fun little trivia tidbit about "The Case of the Daring Decoy." In the trial, Perry cross-examines an elevator operator on the stand. She testifies that she was reading a book when she spotted Perry's client. He asks the witness what book she was reading.

"You Could Die Laughing," the witness says, which elicits laughter in the courtroom. This was a 1957 detective novel written by A.A. Fair — a pen name of Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason! Yep, it was a nice little promotional plug for the author. Now it's a fun little easter egg.

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Salem 40 months ago
I can only hope cartoons do not bring about the loss of Perry Mason at 9 am
opera 41 months ago
as a young boy i would run home from school do my home work,eat supper and get ready for PERRY MASON..i love his show..growing up i would go to the court house and watch a case,but MR. MASON was the best.i always wanted to be a lawyer..but,i went into the medical,i have the complete PERRY MASON 'S ON DVD'S..EVERYAFTERNOON..i sit back with a cup of fresh brew coffee and watch another case of PERRY's brings back WONDERFUL,WONDERFUL DAYS GONE BYE...
Volante 41 months ago
This story is an example of a bogus myth that has been repeated so many times everyone assumes it is true even though it’s utter nonsense (sounds like what is happening in Washington D.C. right now…). Anyway, the real reason they usually don’t have juries is so obvious: they just get in the way. If you pay attention to how the court scenes are shot, the camera is often where the jury would sit. The cameras, the electrical wiring, the studio lights, and all of the crew who work behind the camera all take up a lot of room, and it’s just impractical to put all of that and the jury box in the same space. THAT’S why they avoid having juries.

If in fact the cost of the 12 extras in the jury is the reason, then how do they explain all of the spectators sitting in the court room? Aren’t they paid as well? Couldn’t they just move 12 spectators to the jury box, and it wouldn’t cost any more money? Oh, gosh, nobody thought about that...
1shotonek 42 months ago
Great comments ! Hate to get started on my Mason trivia..hard to My aunt gifted me with complete set of Gardners works before I went to Navy in late 60's...yes, of the 172 original episodes ( I think? ) ..the LAST one I recall made point of using every cast member or such possible in some part or other AND ascI recall..of two judges in this last episode, Gardner actually played one of them. Also, Burr had an impressive law library himself at his home and often his own books were utilized. Have to stop before get carried viewing to all...👍😁
42 months ago
I miss Perry Mason and Highway Patrol on the weekend. Us Grammas don't much care for the dreary all-cowboy lineup on Saturday. And please "86" poor old ancient Barnaby Jones!
Lacey 42 months ago
"The pioneering legal drama helped shape the genre — and it even influenced how many Americans viewed the legal system. "
Not only Americans. In Italy, it led to a change in their legal system when Italians saw that the state had to prove your guilt instead of you proving your innocence. Radical idea in many parts of the world.
ncadams27 42 months ago
When Raymond Burr appeared as Perry Mason on the Jack Benny Program, there was a jury. When he entered the courtroom there was applause from the audience (as celebrities get when they appear as guest stars on variety shows). As the camera pulled back, you saw it was the jury who was applauding - that’s why there are so few juries on the show.
justjeff 42 months ago
I would like to add my own thoughts as well...

Jury trials would have thrown the rhythm of the story off. Remember, it was incumbent for Perry and Paul to unearth all of the facts and discovery they'd need to discredit false witnesses, disprove wild theories and expose the real killer in advance of a jury trial in a quick and timely manner in order to hasten the freedom of their client.

To go through a preliminary hearing (only to drag the client through the proceedings of a jury trial when ample evidence was on hand to free the accused invidual) would have not been very good jurisprudence IMHO.

Now I realize many of your might feel I'm in error by saying that a jury would "thrown the rhythm of the story off", but without the jury, this procedural runs like clockwork along the same rules of good journalism: "Who, what, when, where, why and how".

Should you still feel I'm in error, I then quote from Moe Howard: "I'm gonna get me a cheap lawyer!"
Pacificsun justjeff 42 months ago
Well said!
texasluva 42 months ago
I believe I had already ID'd the little old lady in a hat a few weeks ago as Eva Pearson ... Old Lady. She also appeared in Lucy Goes To Hollywood. No one appears on the Perry Mason Cast list as an uncredited cast, unless someone turns proof into IMDb she will never be listed. That would be a cast member, family member or someone associated with the show. I do not believe my proof to be 100% valid. She usually showed up in back of the courtroom in various locations but also one time as a juror. Interesting never the less.
Pacificsun texasluva 42 months ago
If she was paid (being more than an extra) she probably would've had a SAG card and therefore be listed in their records. There for be an Agency sending those people to the show assigned. But if they paid her in that gallery, then they would've had to pay all the others who appeared in those seats too. Not just for the show we're thinking about. But for all the episodes. And that would've added up to quite a labor cost over the years.
Unless she appeared pro bono. In which case $$ was no object!
Pacificsun 42 months ago
Another point to add. A Jury Trial would've taken more running time. Opening/Closing statements. Circulation of physical evidence (if needed). More shots of Juror's expressions. Jurors entering & exiting. Delivering the verdict. A much more complicated set-up (lighting and blocking).

They were smart to set the boundaries around the hearings the way they did!
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