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In the Corner with Dan Hughes


Aug 9, 2010

Radio producer-director Norman McDonnell and head writer John Meston gave us two old-time radio western series.  Both were “adult, thinking-man” programs.

One was Gunsmoke. 

The other was Fort Laramie.

Fort Laramie ran for less than a year, from January 1956 to October 1956.  It starred a relatively unknown mostly bit-part actor who had done radio for several years and had been in the movies too. 

The year after he starred in Fort Laramie, his career would skyrocket as he became television’s Perry Mason.

Canada’s Raymond Burr was picked to play Perry Mason over such better-known actors as Jeff Chandler, Fred MacMurray, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. 

Legend is that Perry Mason author Erle Stanley Gardner said, “THAT’s Perry Mason” when Burr walked in to audition.

Raymond Burr played cavalry Captain Lee Quince in Fort Laramie.  From February 5, 1956, here’s an episode of Fort Laramie called Squaw Man.