|Perry Mason AKA Raymond Burr|
|Erle Stanley Gardner circa 1966|
Related to that, Gardner devoted thousands of hours to a project called "The Court of Last Resort", which he undertook with his many friends in the forensic, legal and investigative communities. The project sought to review and, if appropriate, to reverse, miscarriages of justice against possibly innocent criminal defendants who were convicted owing to poor original legal representation or to the inadequate, careless or malicious actions of police and prosecutors and most especially, with regard to the abuse or misinterpretation of medical and other forensic evidence. The resulting 1952 book, not a Perry Mason novel, earned Gardner his only Edgar Award, in the Best Fact Crime category.
Contrary to what everybody believes, Perry Mason did lose three cases of almost 300, which is a record pretty much any lawyer would envy, especially since he got one of his losses reversed on appeal. His losses were: The Case of the Witless Witness, The Case of the Deadly Verdict, and The Case of the Terrified Typist.
During her Senate confirmation hearings, Sonia Sotomayor revealed that she first became interested in the law while watching the Perry Mason television show and mentioned that he had one guilty client, but couldn't remember which episode it was, even when Al Franken the comedian senator made an issue of it. It sounds odd that she'd admit that I suppose, especially in a confirmation hearing in front of the senate, but I personally know several lawyers who admit that Perry Mason, usually the tv show, had something to do with them becoming lawyers, you have to figure if I know a few, there are probably more that Mason influenced, maybe hundreds, or thousands, or tens of thousands, there are a LOT of lawyers. That's not bad for anybody, but really not bad for a fictional character. I highly recommend that you enjoy the tv show, I do. But if you really want to enjoy and learn from Mason, read the books. If enough do maybe they'll be put back in print.