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What’s New?Vintage Press InformationAn ’Ironside’ Title and Airdate ListingOriginal NBC Stills ArchiveVintage Magazine Features’Ironside’ CollectablesEditorials and Analytical FeaturesLinks
What’s New?Vintage Press InformationAn ’Ironside’ Title and Airdate ListingOriginal NBC Stills ArchiveVintage Magazine FeaturesIronside’ CollectablesEditorials and Analytical FeaturesLinks
 NEW ZEALAND TV WEEKLYJanuary 13, 1969  •  pp. 31-33 
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The first series of Raymond Burr’s new “Ironside” show is running out on New Zealand channels, but with its popularity here, coupled with American ratings that lift it to the “Hit-show” category, you can rest assured he’ll be back on your screens. Even Burr himself admits he is “gratified” with the show’s success to date.
 
‘The Boss’ is a Perfectionist
 
By Frances Sales
Raymond Burr
Over at Universal Studios in the valley outside Hollywood, there are jubilant smiles these days.
 
Smiles on a movie or Television lot always mean that something is a hit, and in the case of Universal, the biggest smiles are coming from the people who work for and with a company known as Harbour Productions.

 
This is the production company of actor Raymond Burr, whose hour-long Television series, Ironside, is doing just splendidly, thank you. “Good old Ironside …” they’re saying at the studio as they look at the all-important audience ratings and survey the heavy sacks of fan mail that are coming in to praise the show.
 
Now it can be admitted that many knowledgeable TV people had their doubts that the hypnotic-eyed Mr. Burr could top his Perry Mason series. “An awful lot of people thought Ray was crazy to call it quits with P.M.,” explains one of his associates. “They thought he was ill-advised to end a good thing, but the show had gone on for years and he had done as much as he could with the character. He didn’t want to go through life simply as ‘the actor who played Perry Mason.’
Perry Mason cast
•  Raymond Burr and the cast of his old “Perry Mason” TV series … “I live for the present and the future—‘Perry Mason’ is just a memory now,” says Burr.
Don Galloway
Don Galloway
“Now he’s appearing as a completely new character and after more than a year of the series he’s increasingly enthusiastic. He loves doing the show and is very happy that the public has accepted him in a new role.”
 
Burr himself insists that much of the credit for the success of the series goes to the writers. “We’ve got some of the best in the business,” he said recently. “Old professionals, and several young writers who’ve turned out very fine work.”
How does Burr feel about his character of Chief Robert T. Ironside, the former Chief of Detectives of the San Francisco Police Department, after playing the character for a number of months? “Being extremely honest,” he smiles, “I feel like this is only the beginning … There are so many facets of Ironside that haven’t yet been tapped.
 
“I am still exploring and working on Ironside. I don’t really know all about him yet myself. And as an actor this is a very stimulating feeling.”
Barbara Anderson
Barbara Anderson
Because Burr feels so strongly about top-notch scripts, he personally approves each story before it is put into production. And as a man who has a lot of say-so about the series, he’s very interested in seeing that the other characters in the show—Detective-sergeant Ed Brown, Officer Eve Whitfield, and Ironside aide and companion, Mark Sanger—have an equal chance to develop their characters as Ironside continues filming. (The first series is concluding on New Zealand channels.)
“One of the episodes that we recently completed,” the actor reveals, “deals with how Eve Whifield came to work for Ironside … The story gives her character more validity and it also goes back to the day before Ironside’s accident.”
 
The episode will mark one of the few times viewers will see the man who is now confined to a wheelchair walking around. “I get a lot of fan mail asking if I’m really crippled,” Burr says quietly.—“Of course I’m not! I’m gratified that it’s all so convincing, though.”
 
Another Ironside episode, soon to be filmed, is based on an idea suggested by Burr himself. He also plans to make his directing debut with the episode.
 
When the series was first screened, it appeared that the other three regulars had little to do. Gradually, Don Galloway, Don Mitchell and pretty Barbara Anderson have had their roles built up. All three seem very happy with their roles on the show. “It’s a big thrill when we get fan mail,” grins Don Mitchell, alias Ironside’s aide, Mark Sanger.
Don Mitchell
Don Mitchell
Yes, happiness that comes with a hit show is very much in evidence on the Ironside set, and it extends all the way up to San Francisco, 450 miles up the Pacific Coast, where the cast and crew frequently film. “Whenever we film up there,” says a crew member, “Ray and the others are mobbed everywhere they go.
 
“I suppose we’re doing a good public relations job for San Francisco!”
There are no plans to make any dramatic changes on the series. “We have one goal,” says executive producer, Cy Chermak, “to keep the quality high.”
 
Perfectionist Burr sees to that. With his Harbour Productions heavily involved in the financial and production end of the series, he’s as much “boss” of the series as anyone could be. And when something isn’t right, he doesn’t hesitate to say so.
 
Like many others, he’s concerned with the violence on TV accusations that recently swept America. “I don’t think our show has ever been concerned with unnecessary violence,” Burr declares. “On the other hand, Ironside constantly encounters the violence that anyone connected with the police does, and he’s been a victim of violence.
 
“But this is not the key motivation of the show. Principally, we’re exploring relationships among people.”
 
The doubting Thomases have been silenced. Raymond Burr has done it again. He’s proven that he could make a new character every bit as convincing and fascinating as the much-loved Perry Mason. “I live for the present and the future,” he concludes, “Mason is just a memory now.”
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