Wednesday, July 17, 2013
July 17 - Erle Stanley Gardner
Lawyer and detective novelist Erle Stanley Gardner was born on July 17, 1889, in Malden, Massachusetts, north of Boston. He passed the California bar exam in 1911 as a self-taught attorney and spent more than 20 years practicing law there, until 1933, when he published his first pulp mystery, The Case of the Velvet Claws, featuring attorney Perry Mason. That was the first of 82 novels and short stories, most of which were rigidly structured with plots involving: a murder, Perry’s investigation (assisted by secretary Della Street and private eye Paul Drake), and a murder trial in which Perry proves his client’s innocence by dramatically forcing a confession from the criminal. He never lost a case. In his early years, Gardner set himself a quota of writing 1.2 million words a year. He was a two-finger typist, but later dictated his many books to a staff of secretaries. Actor Raymond Burr was the incarnation of Mason in the TV series from 1957 to 1966, with its theme music, “Park Avenue Beat.” Gardner is one of the best-selling authors of all time.