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.

Read to Me

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.


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takeanewone 6 days ago
So what are the details of this police raid?? What morals count? What got the police thinking he was doing something (doing what?) wrong?
Wiseguy 5 months ago
Note that in this new opening Raymond Burr finds it very hard to make a convincing smile compared to the first two openings. Also, it should be noted most of the third season still featured the second opening; it was only the last eight episodes produced in the season which had the new opening.

Two noteworthy broadcasts also feature this opening. First "The Case of the Treacherous Toupee," one of two episodes held over until two weeks before the fourth season started, was really a third-season episode (the other episode, "The Case of the Credulous Quarry," was even older and featured Talman in the opening credits.) Unfortunately both of these episodes are grouped with the fourth season episodes including the DVD set. (Two episodes of the fourth season were also held over to the fifth season. The only difference here was in the closing credits format.)

The second episode with this new opening is a second season episode titled "The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom." When CBS ran episodes from previous seasons in series where the opening credits changed, they routinely made new credits for the rerun episode to make it look like a "new" episode (this was done for many episodes of The Twilight Zone's first season. For decades, these episodes were broadcast with the wrong opening credits; they've only recently been restored. There's also an episode of "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" of the first season with the second-season opening.) Unfortunately, CBS didn't see the need of keeping the original openings and discarded them, leaving these episodes with phony openings that don't match the surrounding episodes. This was also done with the second season's "The Case of the Caretaker's Cat," which is why it is shown with the fourth-season opening credit style.
Pacificsun Wiseguy 7 days ago
Very interesting! Thank you for all that information. I had no idea.
Newyorkcitygal 5 months ago
I always wondered where he went. The show was different without him as the DA. I love Perry Mason and watch reruns weekly on metv and metv. Thanks for the information on one of my favorites shows!
F5Twitster 5 months ago
“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.”

Erle Stanley GARDNER, you nitwits.
LynCarceo F5Twitster 6 days ago
why did it take them months to bring him back?
MarkSpeck 5 months ago
Talman should have been grateful to Gardner for helping him get back on the show. Instead, he got pissed about the quality of the scripts!
PINKYLEE 5 months ago
Notice the reason behind the "morals charge" wasn't mentioned.

Everyone at the party that night was naked, including Talman.
MadMadMadWorld PINKYLEE 5 months ago
I also believe there was the "dreaded" cannabis smoking going on there, besides the nudity! Either one or both was enough in those innocent 1960 days to be accused of a "morals" charge. Being nude in a private home is a totally ridiculous and abuse of power to be accused of 'Immorality." Of course, any drug usage (by a 21+ adult), outside of alcohol or a cigarette back then was considered as bad as first degree murder! Outrageous, but that was how a plant (cannabis) whether smoked or ingested to be considered a "crime" is a gross abuse of government since no one is aggressed by it, same as alcohol or cigarette smoking by the individual for themselves. The war on drugs should be ended--as the failure it has shown itself to be for 50 years enforcing the 1970 Controlled Substances Act by the feds, and in the states by their specific drug laws.
takeanewone PINKYLEE 6 days ago
Thank you for explaining what this poorly done article left out! What the heck the raid was all about!
Tlor 5 months ago
From what I am reading sounded like a pool party with cannabis, whether he was participating was not proven, he was just present. Seemed odd they would raid one house of 7 it wasn't like they were selling nor were they in the public eye. There were plenty of actors and actresses that did immoral things in the studio system, just reading about the whole thing sounds odd(maybe a set up?). I think privacy is necessary, nobody needs to know anything about you. Why everything has to be upfront is ridiculous. Its when they flaunt and brag or act like its not immoral then you have a problem. More so now than back in the olden days.
StrayCat Tlor 5 months ago
If i recall correctly, there was also an allegation that one of the female participants was under age. When the charges against Talman were dropped they provided an explanation stating that Talman was not aware of any cannabis or any underage persons being present. I believe a couple of the participants received fines and nothing more. A complete waste of time.
takeanewone StrayCat 6 days ago
Thank you for more details what this was all about.
AgingDisgracefully 5 months ago
So...the future Ironside proved to be a stand-up guy.
Then he sat back down again after proclaiming, this is outrageous!
MuezzinJeffrey 5 months ago
Surprised that crybaby homicide-Hamilton. didn't plead 'But Your Honor....Perry's up to his old courtroom theatrics again!'.😭
Immaterial, and those other words he always used to castigate Perry's argument that he believed was not appropriate or off-the-wall!
Andybandit 5 months ago
I like Perry Mason, it is a good show. I like the theme song. I didn't know that William Talman went to Jail.
Newyorkcitygal Andybandit 5 months ago
Never went to jail. Just fired from the show. He later was found not guilty.
He might have gone to jail for a few hours, when arrested, before granted bail. For Andybandit, the theme song title was "Park Avenue Beat." A really great jazz number composed by Fred Steiner! BTW, today (Feb. 4) is William Talman's birthday, in Detroit, in 1915. He only lived to be 53 with his famous smoking (regular cigarettes!) that gave him lung cancer that he filmed anti-smoking commercials, the first actor to do so publicly, to his great honor and courage to do in 1968 that aired that year and into 1969, although after his death on Aug. 30, 1968.
I heard that his agent tried to talk him out of doing the anti-smoking PSAs, "Because it'll kill your career!" Talman gave his agent a withering glare and said, "Um--I'm dying anyway, which is why I want to do the PSAs! I don't want any young fans of the show to pick up my bad habits."
takeanewone Andybandit 6 days ago
The solemn theme song and gloomy serious opening scenes scared me as a child. As did the thought of going to court and sitting on the witness stand all alone, mom and dad not there with me while those angry people ask me questions. I'd see that and pray I never have to go to court.
This article said he was tossed in jail:
"One of the people tossed in jail that evening was actor William Talman, "
texasluva 5 months ago
I gotta tell ya. He should have spent some time in Cell Block C for his escapades as the devious deadly Hitch-Hiker back in 53'. It finally caught up with him. Though a good lawyer got him outta a smaller jam and back on PM where he was throttled time and again by Perry
Mirramanee 5 months ago
Though I am not a fan of the Perry Mason series, I love reading about the behind the scenes human interest stories for most TV shows. On reading this particular story, I must say I am truly gratified to see that Raymond Burr stood by his friend, even to the point of insisting they keep Mr. Talman's personal effects on set. That's a class act.
Wiener Mirramanee 5 months ago
I loved Perry Mason and Talman, Burr and Hopper and everyone. Talman was fired based on a morals clause in contracts of actors that was common at the time. The problem is Raymond Burr had a huge problem in his private life. He was gay. Now if that had come out would CBS have fired their major star? If they did would the public demand his return or vilify him considering the opinions on homosexuality at the time?
RichardPniewski Wiener 5 months ago
From everything I have read, Burr didn't seem particularly interested in hiding the fact that he was gay.
Newyorkcitygal Wiener 5 months ago
Yes unfortunately Raymond would of been let go too! Look how Rock Hudson kept quite and it never came out he was gay until he got sick at the end of his life. I am too proud that Raymond stood by his friend.
Wiseguy Newyorkcitygal 5 months ago
Always would have, could have, should have... NEVER would of, could of, should of.
Also Rock Hudson kept quiet...
denny RichardPniewski 5 months ago
He had a fake wife. Also he said he had a son who had died, but there was never any record of it. So yes he did hide being gay.
Pacificsun Wiener 7 days ago
The problem there is, that if they starting dropping actor their sexual persuasion, they'd lose 1/3 of Hollywood's talent, both in front and behind the camera. So that was a secret kept in everyone's best interest. By contrast is a leud pool party with naked, underaged guests, smoking weed was a little more flagrant. Plus Talman represented the Perry Mason Production Company. And the company was trying to protect it's reputation, for future business.

I'm not saying any of it was, just that's the viewpoint.
takeanewone Wiener 6 days ago
They do the same nonsense now. Firing a major star, Rosanne, for telling her unacceptable opinions.
Pilaf 5 months ago
Viewers LOVED Hamilton Burger! NONE of the substitutes could ever take his place! His persecution reminds me of the Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle case.
denny Pilaf 5 months ago
Not quite. Fatty was one of the biggest movie stars of his time. The act he was accused of was horrific, and his career was over. Talman went back to work a couple of months later as a 4th or 5th lead of a TV series.
Mike denny 2 months ago
For The True Record:

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle went through three trials for the "Horrific" crime of which he was accused.
Results: two hung juries and an acquittal.
After that acquittal, the forewoman of that jury put out a public statement, to the effect that Arbuckle should have never stood trial in the first place.

Epilog:
Fatty Arbuckle was blacklisted from movies for about a decade.
But in the early '30s, Vitaphone pictures signed him up to do two-reel talkie comedies.
After the six two-reelers had success at the box office, Vitaphone signed Arbuckle to do a starring comedy feature - but he died the day after signing the contract.
Those two-reelers are out on DVD - I know because I've got the set.
Maybe MeTV ought to show them as part of the Saturday Three Stooges package - after all, Shemp Howard appears in most of them ...
takeanewone denny 6 days ago
Fatty? What horrific crime? Details are too vague in this post.
denny takeanewone 5 days ago
Not appropriate to post what he was accused of on this website. But he was innocent and the fake news media had already ruined his career.
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