Created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Appearing in books, in movies, and television, he’s one of the most enduring hard-boiled private eyes of all time, yet he has never been the lead, always playing second fiddle to his famous client.
That detective is, of course, PAUL DRAKE, the preferred investigator for none other than Erle Stanley Gardner‘s Perry Mason. From the movies, and from some of the TV episodes, the casual observer might get the impression that Paul Drake is on Mason’s payroll — that his sole job is to dig up the evidence to acquit Mason’s clients — but that’s not the case at all.
Mason is Drake’s client, not his employer, and he’s certainly not Drake’s only client.
Drake runs the Drake Detective Agency, one of the best firms of its kind in LA. Located on the same floor as Perry Mason’s offices, the Drake Detective Agency is a twenty-four hour operation. Behind its innocent-looking entrance door, sits a girl at a switchboard. Going down the corridor from her is a veritable rabbits warren of cubbyhole offices, where Drake’s operatives prepare reports on their various cases. At the end of the passageway is Drake’s tiny office, which contains a desk and a battery of telephones.
The close proximity of Drake’s offices to Mason’s offices serves both men well. It is convenient for Mason, who sometimes has clients and visitors tailed as they leave his office; and for Drake, who enters and exits Mason’s office through a back door, signaling with his code knock.
Paul Drake is the archetypal private investigator. Tall, handsome, and athletic, he’s the one to duke it out with the bad guys, or to woo the ladies with his charm. He, characteristically, slouches in his chair, and greets Della, Mason’s secretary, with a friendly, “Hello, beautiful!”
Paul Drake is an essential asset to the Perry Mason stories, doing things that Mason cannot do; going places that Mason cannot go, and adding a sense of adventure to the stories that might otherwise be absent.
NOVELS, FILM, TELEVISION, ETC.
- For a complete listing of Paul Drake’s appearances, see our Perry Mason entry.