Being born in 1955, I was only a child when this series first aired, though I can remember seeing some reruns in the sixties. However, by the time I was in high school I was a fan of Erle Stanley Gardner's books, both the Mason books and the Cool/Lam books written under the A.A. Fair name. Over the decades, occasionally I'd come across the odd episode of this series on late night TV, but the quality of the broadcast combined with ridiculous editing and digital speed-up to maximize commercial space made some of them senseless. Therefore, recently when I tried to view one on cable I was driven to Amazon here, where I found this enormous number of episodes in a five season pack, and I ordered it.
What a pleasure it has been! The quality is amazing for television that was done fifty-plus years ago. There are a few out-of-focus scenes in closeups, but I notice because I'm a long-term photo nut, and few others would ever see that. As happens with black and white when it is really well done in TV and movies, after a couple of minutes one easily forgets this isn't color. The cinematography is amazingly good, particularly with film of the day.
Part of what makes this package such an amazing buy is the sheer number of hours of entertainment here. In today's skewed media, it's easy to forget that a TV season used to be 35-39 episodes starting each fall. Nowadays, sometimes we get as few as 5 or so before the network starts repeating them. The staggering amount of work to crank out a quality series like this, year after year, is so admirable. I'm not sure we even have the talent in LA anymore to do this. These truly are like little movies. Oh, it's no War and Peace, but then neither is Dancing with the Tramps, or whatever.
I've already bought the two sixth season DVD's, even though I'm only on season 3 of these. There are an awful lot of hours of entertainment here. The bonus is looking at all those neat fifties cars and beautiful women dressed with an effort that women won't make now. No regrets investing the money on these; probably by the time I get to the end I'll have forgotten the solutions to the earlier ones! Thanks to CBS for preserving the masters.