Friday, October 28, 2011

The Case of the Office Envy

Mrs. Hall had been looking at mid century modern homes in Las Vegas online for some time. The thought of purging all her old traditional furniture for a more contemporary look was beginning to truly appeal to her (chuckling all along that it was delightful that a sixty year old sofa could genuinely be referred to as "contemporary") and she found herself yearning for examples of the period to emulate.

She sipped her coffee as she stood at the newsstand at Wegmans and sighed. Staring back at her was a glut of magazines now touting the virtues of this century's take on last century's innovations, but what she really craved was the look of the real thing. She tried to imagine the classiest versions she could think of; the only ones that came to mind were the television incarnations she remembered from her youth. Not those horrible suburban living rooms with their faux-colonial stuffed couches and maple end tables; but the flashy, modern environs created by a superior race of designers that all seemed to come from Scandinavia. The first thing that came to mind was Perry Mason's office.

In the past, her main impetus for watching the old Perry Mason show was for the cars. While Raymond Burr may have been nothing like the lawyer Erle Stanley Gardner envisioned, and while his courtroom antics were, well sometimes circusy ( seriously- if you've just committed a felony, would you really stick around and see how it played out in court?)- the best reason for tuning in was to see the fancy pants wheels he was thrashing about the California landscape in, week after week. (Paul Drake apparently was doing pretty well for himself, as well.) GM and Ford were trading sponsorship of the series over the years, and it made for some lively rides for the boys; Perry got to drive a '57 Ford Skyliner with one of the industry's first power retractable hardtops and Paul switched between a Thunderbird and a Corvette.
But his success in the courtroom revealed itself more tacitly in his office surroundings. Maybe because it was so frequently seen only at night, maybe because it was in glorious black and white with all those delicious edgy shadows; whatever the reason, the office seemed to convey a form of California cool so enticing, it practically stood out as a character of the show in its own right. (In fact, a wonderful study of its exact dimensions and accessories can be found here, and an dandy interactive architectural rendering - with pics to support the views- can be seen here. Many thanks to D. M. Brockman for his tireless research and his charming website.)
That's exactly the look I want, thought Mrs. Hall to herself, and she slapped shut the latest glossy decorating edition chock full of useless advertisements. Now all I have to do is find a warehouse full of untouched sixty year old furniture waiting for me at rock bottom prices. She decided not to hold her breath waiting for that to happen.

No comments:

Tell your friends!