Is the old America gone forever?
Mike Nowak's recent piece in American Thinker on the old Perry Mason TV show, although somewhat tongue in cheek, awakened in me some nostalgic memories. As a teenager, I watched many of the episodes when they first aired, and a few years ago, I watched all the YouTube videos I could find as if they were reruns.
Having been an eyewitness to the 1950s and '60s, watching the videos was sentimentally a bit like visiting my childhood home town. I recognized, if not places, certain landmarks of the mind, and despite my memories of some of the bad things, such as institutional racism in my home state, I felt a longing to return, at least for a brief sojourn, to what was truly good in those times, a goodness that my children and grandchildren missed out on and may never know.
One of the first things one notices in the early series, 1957 to '59 or so, is the remnant of chivalry that today's feminists decry as sexist. Men were gentlemen. Oh, come now, there were the boors and abusers, but gentlemanliness was expected. Men held doors for ladies, helped them on with their coats, stood when they entered the room, and so forth. Those customs are so archaic as to be almost laughable among the youngsters of today.
Ladies were, may I say so, ladylike. Again saying, oh come, now, there were tramps, but everyone was aware that chivalry was not yet entirely dead, and people knew how ladies were expected to dress and behave. If you were not there, perhaps you can never understand. Feminism of the angry version has crushed all that.
There were no cell phones, and the telephones available had rotary dials, a feature that some kids now have difficulty understanding. Although automatic transmissions were common in automobiles, clutch pedals remained ubiquitous. I am humorously reminded of some hoodlum car thieves in recent years who tried to steal a car with standard transmission, but they could not drive it.
Perry Mason won all his cases (I think there was one that was solved, but not by him), but the prosecutor, even in defeat, was always an honest broker. Yes, he would gloat when he momentarily thought he had Perry, but he always carried out the law, even when it meant cooperating with the defense. He would never have consented to political prosecution. He would not have tried to send Kyle Rittenhouse or George Zimmerman to prison, not once he knew the facts.
Reluctantly returning to reality, I move from the black-and-white moral certainty of the fifties to the ethically amorphous colors of today, and I sadly note that all the actors and actresses who populated that wonderful fantasy world have departed from this world of reality. Beautiful Barbara Hale, the epitome of the classy lady, died just over six years ago at age 94, preceded, I believe, by all the others.
The absence of that quality of television is the main reason I cut my cable and have not watched TV in many years.
Image via Pxhere.