A police raid led to the Perry Mason opening credits changing in season three
Talman was (briefly) fired from the legal drama for legal troubles.
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In March of 1960, police burst into the home of Richard Reibold in Hollywood, California. It was an apartment building that had been built by Charlie Chaplin. Captain R. B. Brooks of the Sheriff's Department had been staking out the Tudor-style home for a while. On the night that the authorities finally raided the joint, they arrested eight people having a get-together, four men and four women. They were booked on "a morals count." The eight partygoers each posted $1,050 bail.
One of the people tossed in jail that evening was actor William Talman, no stranger to the legal process, considering he was starring as D.A. Hamilton Burger on Perry Mason at the time.
"There must be some kind of mistake," Talman was recorded as saying to the Associated Press. "This could ruin me."
It nearly did. Three days after this story hit the papers, CBS fired Talman from Perry Mason, before his case even went to court. His lawyer found the irony in the act:
"Talman has not been tried as yet for any offense. He has not been found guilty of any offense," his attorney Harold Rhoden told the media at the time, "Yet here CBS, producers of, of all things, The Perry Mason Show, has found Talman guilty before he has a trial."
Talman quickly disappeared from the hit television show. "The Case of the Bashful Burro," the next show after his arrest, aired on March 26. And it posed a bit of a problem — Talman was featured in the opening credits. After all, Hamilton Burger was the main rival of Perry Mason. In those opening credits, Perry takes a document from the judge on the stand and walks them over to the prosecution. Talman's name and credit show up under his head as he examines the paper.
The following episode, "The Case of the Crying Cherub," opened in a different manner. Now, the opening credits froze on a tight shot of the document in Perry's hand, as seen above on the right. Talman was nowhere to be seen, because, well, he was off the show.
In his place, David Lewis portrayed Deputy D.A. Mark Hanson. In subsequent episodes, more replacements were found, like Robert Gist (Deputy D.A. Claude Drumm).
Of course, any astute Mason fan knows that Hamilton Burger appears throughout the series. Heck, he's in the finale, "The Case of the Final Fade-Out."
Well, Talman was cleared of all charges. Months later, he was hired back by CBS. He had Raymond Burr and Erle Stanley Garner — not to mention legions of letter-writing fans — in his corner. Burr, in particular, stood by his co-star. They may have been onscreen rivals, but they were friends in real life.
Burr demanded that Talman's personal items remain on the production lot. In particular, he made sure that Talman's favorite coffee mug was left hanging on the rack.