The cast of Perry Mason threatened to quit after William Talman was suspended from the series

The cast didn't just fight for their friends in the courtroom.

CBS Television Distribution

We all know that a cast that works well together is more likely to stay together, but do you know what exponentially increases the likelihood of cast bonding? Quitting together, especially if you're doing so in the name of a good friend.

That's exactly what the cast of Perry Mason did, according to the Encyclopedia of Television Law Shows: Factual and Fictional Series About Judges, Lawyers and the Courtroom, written by Hal Erickson. William Talman, better known as District Attorney Hamilton Burger of Perry Mason, got himself into a bit of hot water after the actor was briefly arrested.

Though the charges were dropped, the looming shadow of the arrest attempted to poison Talman's career, as CBS suspended the actor from Perry Mason on the grounds that he had violated the morals clause in his contract. Luckily, Talman didn't have to battle the network alone, as he had the Perry Mason fanbase and his costars on his side.

"Not only did viewers fervently demand Talman's reinstatement, but his fellow cast members rallied around the actor," wrote Erickson.

While viewers offered their support, the rest of the cast of Perry Mason was willing to put their careers on the line to protect their fellow actors and friends. "[They] warned CBS that if he [Talman] wasn't immediately allowed to return to the set, they might seriously reconsider signing contracts for the following season."

Luckily, the threat was able to shake CBS to its senses, and Talman was invited back into the Perry Mason cast with open arms.

"Bill Talman did indeed come back," Erickson wrote, "remaining with the show until its final episode, good-naturedly grousing about being a "perennial loser" straight down the line."

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26 Comments

Runeshaper 15 days ago
Talman was EXCELLENT as District Attorney Hamilton Burger on Perry Mason! I'm glad that his friends/coworkers and fans stood by his side when he needed them (-:
SteveMcnary 17 days ago
William Talman & Raymond Burr both played great villains in film noir classics pre-Perry Mason.
BorisK 17 days ago
I remember when Talman did anti-smoking commercials in the 70s. He courageously went on camera to state he had cancer from smoking and urged young people to not smoke. That takes tremendous courage. RIP Bill Talman.
Jon BorisK 17 days ago
That was back in 1968, shortly before he died. He didn't make it to the 1970s, though his PSA may have. :(
BorisK Jon 16 days ago
Ah, thanks for the clarification. It does make sense that was in 60s. Yul Brenner's anti-smoking campaign was in the 70s I think.
trogg888 17 days ago
Back in those days it didn't take much of the hint of a scandal to ruin your career..take the communist witch hunts of the 50s which were led by one man and forced writers and directors to assume alias names to be able to earn a living if they were accused of being a communist
Bapa1 trogg888 17 days ago
(I've mentioned this before) Robert Shayne who played Inspector Henderson on Superman was accused of communist leanings. The producers were going to let him go, but George Reeves (Superman) stated if he goes, I go. So they relented.
cperrynaples Bapa1 16 days ago
Yep,and Jackie Gleason tried to save Pert Kelton AKA the original Alice, but CBS held firm!
teire 18 days ago
After his return, he was credited only if he appeared in that episode.
cperrynaples teire 16 days ago
Yep, and strangely Ray Collins got credit as Tragg long after illness forced him out!
teire cperrynaples 16 days ago
The Collins credit wasn’t dropped until the ninth season after he passed away. It was a kind and respectful gesture. I think the Talman protocol was a condition of his return the network demanded.
Producer Gail Patrick Jackson said they knew Ray Collins watched the show weekly so they left his name in the credits.
justjeff 18 days ago
From Wikipedia:

In 1960, Talman was fired from Perry Mason for a short period after Sheriff's deputies, suspicious of marijuana use, raided a party on March 13, 1960 in the West Hollywood apartment of Richard Reibold, an advertising agency executive. The deputies reported finding Talman and seven other defendants variously naked and partly dressed. Among the guests was Mrs. Peggy Louise Flannigan, who would later become William Talman's next wife, after his divorce from Barbara Read.

All were arrested for possession of marijuana (the charge was later dropped) and lewd vagrancy. On June 17, municipal judge Adolph Alexander dismissed the charges of lewd vagrancy against Talman and the others for lack of proof. "I don't approve of their conduct," the judge ruled, "but it is not for you and me to approve but to enforce the statutes." In spite of the dismissal, CBS fired Talman and refused to give a reason. Talman was later rehired after the series' executive producer, Gail Patrick Jackson and Talman's friend Raymond Burr, made a request to CBS, Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of Perry Mason, spoke out in favor of Talman's return, and a massive campaign of letters from viewers to CBS.
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MrsPhilHarris justjeff 14 days ago
You have to wonder why they were mostly naked. 🤔
justjeff MrsPhilHarris 14 days ago
If you gotta wonder....................
Coldnorth justjeff 12 days ago
I like to wonder. Usually it’s better than the actual story
Goldenmaple12 18 days ago
A cast of a TV Show/Movie/Video Games are families sometimes and Family sticks together
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