Based on the character from the books of Erle Stanley Gardner, Raymond Burr starred in the legal drama series known as Perry Mason which premiered on CBS on this day in 1957. The show was the first weekly hour-long drama series and featured the fictional Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. Lasting nine seasons, the original show was nominated nine times for an Emmy and won five including Best Actor in a Leading Role (Burr, 1959 and 1960) and Best Supporting Actress (Barbara Hale, 1959). The show has been shown in syndication ever since it went off the air on May 22, 1966. In 1973, CBS attempted a revival of the series with a new cast (Monte Markham and Sharon Acker) but it wasn’t received well and it only ran for half a season. Then, magic struck a second time in 1985 when NBC created a made-for-TV movie starring Burr and Hale once again. It did so well that the network created 29 other Perry Mason movies. Burr starred in 26 of them before his death in 1993. The last four were filmed after his death but Mason absence was explained that he was on vacation. In August 2016, HBO announced a potential new series could star Robert Downey Jr.
'Touched by an Angel' Debuts
On this day TV show Touched by an Angel debuted and aired its last show on April 27, 2003. Created by John Masius and produced by Martha Williamson, the series followed Monica, an angel, (Roma Downey) as she brought hope to the hopeless. She was assisted by Tess (Della Reese) and Andrew (John Dye), the angel of death. When Williamson signed on to the project, the show was much different than it actually turned out. She described the series as portraying angels as “recycled dead people with power over life and death." She told CBS that she was a Christian and could only portray the angels in a way that she felt was true and respectful.