You all know I’m a big fan of Perry Mason, particularly the two tv series with Raymond Burr. I’ve seen them all and YA will tell you I’ve seen them all repeatedly. Mea culpa.
With the big storm on Sunday/Monday, I spent the day inside, watching another of my favorite old shows – Columbo. When watching episodes back to back, I noticed something in Columbo that I have always been bothered by in Perry Mason. Secretaries are portrayed as a bad lot. Either they are in love with their bosses and will lie (and kill) for them or they are sexpots either having affairs with their bosses or vying for those affairs, always with the aim of blackmail of some sort.
Except Della Street, of course. Intelligent, resourceful, extremely loyal, kind and completely devoted to her job. Early mornings, late nights, weekends…. she is ALWAYS working. She goes to nice restaurants with the boss, gala affairs on occasion, holiday weekends in Mexico, an overnight on a boat with the boss to check some bit of evidence. She even goes to the boss’ house to take care of him when he is sick. But no canoodling of any kind, although the later series does lean a little over the line in terms of their relationship. (And we’re not going to discuss a movie made in the late 30s in which Perry and Della get married!)
I did secretarial work for my father’s law firm for a couple of summers and winter breaks in college and I never met another secretary that fit any of the secretarial visions that Hollywood has dreamed up – no killer gals in love with the boss, no sexpots aiming to entrap the boss and no Della Streets. Not a one.
In your opinion, what else does Hollywood always mess up?