TV

Perry Mason: Season 7, Volume 2

First kill all the critics?


Perry Mason

Distributor: CBS/Paramount
Cast: Raymond Burr
Network: CBS
US release date: 2012-10-23
Amazon

PopMatters reviewed the first half of Season 7 of Perry Mason here. This set closes the season with the last 15 episodes, aired from January to May 1964. As legal beagle Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) defends various suckers from charges of murder, the quest for fresh twists leads to a couple of episodes that dispose of the courtroom proceedings early in the show as a kind of appetizer to the main action. The best of these is "The Case of the Nervous Neighbor", about an old lady who doesn't remember that she killed her husband! That one has a rare dramatic role for ventriloquist Paul Winchell.

Writer Jonathan Latimer, who dominated the first half of the season, is here responsible only for "The Case of the Frightened Fisherman", in which he manages once again to introduce an animal character. However, the season's most notable twist is the absence of trusty secretary Della Street (Barbara Hale) from a string of episodes. Instead we're treated to surprise appearances by the bug-eyed receptionist Gertie (Connie Cezon), a figure often referenced but rarely seen. Contrariwise, Ray Collins (as Lt. Tragg) continues to be billed but is never seen at all in this batch.

As usual, some of the livelier episodes deal with show biz as a world of colorful blowhards. "The Case of the Bountiful Beauty" is a Hollywood story about a young woman whose bestseller is optioned by an autocratic director (John Van Dreelen). "The Case of the Garrulous Go-Between" has a stylish fortune-teller (Lori March) who predicts bad mojo for a Nancy Drew-ish heroine (Sue Randall). Both are trumped by "The Case of the Simple Simon", about a troupe of larger-than-life Shakespeareans who include Victor Buono, Tom Conway, and Virginia Field. "Is it really so terrible to kill a critic?" asks the diva. We'll let you know.

Other guests include Joyce Bulifant, Richard Davalos, Dabbs Greer, Ryan O'Neal, Phyllis Coates, David McCallum, Jeanne Cooper, Les Tremayne, Jackie Coogan, Malachi Throne, Mala Powers, Jacques Aubuchon, Anthony Eisley, Jerry Van Dyke, Nancy Gates, Harry Townes, Berry Kroeger, Michael Ansara, Peter Breck, Bek Nelson, Mimsy Farmer, Malcolm Atterbury, Philip Ober, and Constance Towers.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

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Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

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This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

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Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

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