A TV Review by Mike Tooney

PERRY MASON The case of the Final Fade-Out

“The Case of the Final Fade-Out.” An episode of Perry Mason (1957-66). Season 9, Episode 30. First broadcast: 22 May 1966. Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Richard Anderson, James Stacy, Estelle Winwood, Jackie Coogan, Denver Pyle, Dick Clark, Gerald Mohr, Marlyn Mason, Kenneth MacDonald, Lee Miller, Gail Patrick (uncredited), Erle Stanley Gardner (uncredited). Executive producer: Gail Patrick. Writers: Ernest Frankel and Orville H. Hampton. Director: Jesse Hibbs.

PERRY MASON The case of the Final Fade-Out

   You’ve probably seen crime dramas centering on a murder during the production of a movie or television show (one installment of Ellery Queen comes to mind), and “The Case of the Final Fade-out” is one of them.

   A young and handsome but amoral TV actor (Stacy) is the star of a hit TV crime series. Not content with his success, he’s more than willing to double cross his colleagues to get what he wants — and you just know that when a character in a Perry Mason episode starts throwing his weight around, he is very likely going to end up a corpse.

   When filming a hectic shootout scene, Stacy is killed in the confusion; but who pulled the trigger?

   Just about everybody this crumb bum knew had a good motive to rub him out, and it’s no small matter for Perry Mason to finally finger the culprit.

PERRY MASON The case of the Final Fade-Out

   This show is special in several ways: (1) It was the final (271st) episode of the original black-and-white Perry Mason series; (2) many of the production crew had a chance to appear on camera (since they were “witnesses” to the crime); and (3) Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner put in his one and only appearance as a judge.

   It might also be the only time lawyer Mason defended a dead client — and then went on to defend the person accused of killing him!

   When this episode wrapped, everyone thought they were finished with Perry Mason. Raymond Burr (1917-93) went on to what he considered a more interesting character in the Ironside series (196 episodes, 1967-75), but apparently couldn’t resist the money, returning to Perry Mason in 26 made-for-TV films (1985-93).

PERRY MASON The case of the Final Fade-Out

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