The Case of Constant Doyle

Once upon a time, Perry Mason was in the hospital, and another lawyer had to step in…. and who was that lawyer? None other than Bette Davis. She plays Mrs. Doyle, the smart, tough-talking lawyer who helps out Cal Leonard, the handsome young juvenile delinquent who’s in jail for assault. Cal steals her car and next thing Mrs. Doyle knows, she’s in the middle of a murder case — and taking on the male establishment to boot.

I’m a big fan of Perry Mason. But Constant Doyle, as played by Davis, is way better than Perry Mason as played by Raymond Burr. Check it out yourself:

5 thoughts on “The Case of Constant Doyle

  1. Kim Hampton

    From one Perry Mason fan to another…if you check out the site, they are slowly but surely putting up the Perry Mason archives archives for viewing. Right now the count is about 40-45 full-length episodes are available for view.

  2. Jean

    Wow — that’s great! And in part 2, where she says “Good night, toughie.” PRICELESS!!!

    BTW, Dan: I have a collection of Perry Mason stories I found at the used bookstore here. Want it?

  3. Mark Bowen

    This is one of my favorite Perry Mason episodes! I am so glad to see another fellow admirer. Putting it in context that there were very few women attorneys at that time, I think it was brilliant casting to have Bette Davis portray a female trial attorney — no one would EVER argue with her!! In its own small way, I think it helped advance feminist rights even!

  4. UU Jester

    Have always loved that we share this guilty pleasure, Dan– and I have never seen this episode before, so thanks for sharing. On the other hand, I didn’t enjoy it very much. I found her to be quite grating and the story wasn’t very engaging to me.

  5. Dan

    Kim @ 1 — Whoa, new time suck, thanks!

    Jean @ 2 — Yeah, I love that line too.

    As for the book — Thanks for the offer, and let me know which one it is before we spend mailing money, because I already have most of the 80+ Perry Mason books. (Yes, it’s kind of sad that I own that many Perry Mason books….)

    Mark @ 3 — Yeah, there was that sense of early women’s rights.

    UU Jester @ 4 — Guilty pleasure? No guilt! Perry Mason is a cultural treasure!

    Yes, Bette Davis was grating, which was one of the things I liked. I also have to admit that I never quite liked Raymond Burr as Perry Mason — Perry Mason is supposed to have wavy hair, and even Erle Stanley Gardner himself (who approved of Burr) said Burr has “big cow eyes” instead of the “granite-hard” countenance of the books. Actually, maybe Bette Davis in drag would have been a better Perry Mason than Burr. Anyway. I wouldn’t want to watch a whole series about Constant Doyle, but I really liked this one show. What the heck, I’m gonna go watch it again….

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