No, not Katy Perry, although I wouldn’t mind having her either. I’m talking about Perry Mason! It all started innocently enough when my sister mentioned there was a Perry Mason marathon on the Hallmark Movie Channel. I remember watching old Perry Mason reruns every weekday afternoon on KETV when I was young. (Or maybe it was WOWT?) So I eagerly tuned in to HMC.
Unfortunately, the first thing I noticed was how cut-up the episodes were. Back in the old days, when a TV station showed old reruns, they were uncut. Like the old Star Trek reruns on KMTV. You got the entire episode back then. But when’s the last time you saw an old rerun that wasn’t butchered? The Twilight Zone marathons on Sci Fi? I can’t watch them. I remember those shows very well, and there’s just too much missing. Plus there’s something wrong with the sound, some weird, faint echo, like a phone ringing a second before it actually rings.
But back to Perry. I was willing to put up with all the edits in the HMC version, but then they started the 1964 season and things got worse. They’d cut to a commercial at stupid moments, like right in the middle of a line of dialogue. Then I read on the internet that HMC also compressed the episodes, and once I knew that, I started noticing it — people talking a little too fast, their voices a little too high. That was the last straw. I unscheduled my DVR timer and deleted the episodes I’d recorded.
Of course I can go to CBS.com and see the first two seasons, uncut, and they even have the theme music — one of the best themes ever (yet HMC cut it out???) But the show was on for nine years, and CBS.com only has seasons 1 and 2. And the sound volume is too low on some episodes. And you have to endure five commercials in a row, and then a little while later, the same five commercials again, and then later on, there they are again. I could buy the series on DVD, but that’s almost $400, and I’m not sure the DVDs would work in my computer and I don’t have a DVD player. If only I could buy the individual episodes I want through Amazon Instant Video, but they don’t have them. I hear Perry is on Me-TV. But Dish Network doesn’t carry Me-TV.
So now that I’m hooked on the show, and I appreciate it even more than I did years ago, it’s gone. All those scheming secretaries and nasty nephews and corporate crooks and insane artists and sinister sculptors and wicked wives, all beyond my reach. Now I know how Hamilton Burger felt. I just can’t win.