Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happy birthday, Erle Stanley Gardner

It is the birthday of writer Erle Stanley Gardner (1889), who is best remembered for writing the Perry Mason murder mystery series. The Mason character was a defense attorney whose clients were charged with murders they didn't commit. Mason generally proved the innocence of his client by getting a confession from another character, usually during the trial while the murderer was on the witness stand. Gardner taught himself law and passed the bar exam in California in 1911. He practiced law and wrote on the side. After his first book, The Case of the Velvet Claws (1933), was published, Gardner devoted full time to writing. He patterned Mason's faithful and efficient secretary, Della Street, on his longtime secretary, Agnes Jean Bethell, whom he married in 1968. Here's an interesting clip of Gardner's appearance on the What's My Line? game show in 1957.

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