As president of Paisano Productions and executive producer of the TV series PERRY MASON from 1957 to 1966, GAIL PATRICK (1911-1980) was one of the first female TV producers, and the only female executive producer during the Perry Mason years.
Gail’s husband ,Thomas Cornwell Jackson, was literary agent for author Erle Stanley Gardner . Gail shared Gardner’s love of the law (she had done two years of law school at the University of Alabama).
Gail, her husband and the Perry Mason author formed Paisano Productions and Gail developed Perry Mason and sold it to CBS. Gail’s mansion on La Brea Terrace was sometimes a shooting location for the show.
Gail with her family. She is described as ‘the former movie star.’
Gail, with Erle Stanley Gardner and columnist Norma Lee Browning.
Gail on the set of Perry Mason, with Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale.
Interesting 1950s article about women in business, with the quote, “A woman who undertakes two jobs excels at neither.” (compromising her ‘traditional role’).
Gail Patrick made 60 films between 1932 and 1948. When she stopped acting, she said, “I never formally retired. I just quit and it was a good time as TV started taking over.”
Of her career, Gail said, “My Man Godfrey”, that’s the movie that typed me.”
And that is so true. In ‘A’ features, Gail was generally aloof, unsympathetic, snooty, devious. While in her ‘B’ films, Gail often played the heroine and even on one occasion, the title role in a comedy – UP IN MABEL’S ROOM (1944) – which I’d love to see for the title alone.
Was it partly because she was tall and statuesque and spoke with an upper class accent? Typecasting seemed inevitable for some actors.
Gail was Carole Lombard’s snooty sister in MY MAN GODFREY. She was the only unlikeable girl in STAGE DOOR. And of course she didn’t stand a chance as the second wife in MY FAVORITE WIFE.
(She reportedly helped director Leo McCarey write the judge’s lines in the second courtroom scene in “My Favorite Wife.”)
I’ve caught up with three of Gail’s ‘B’ movies on You Tube, and what a difference it is to see her in roles that were more than one dimensional.
In The Lone Wolf Returns (1935), she’s the romantic lead opposite Melvyn Douglas.
Trading barbs with Ginger Rogers in STAGE DOOR.
Gail is the wife of district attorney Warren William in WIVES UNDER SUSPICION. A young Constance Moore plays Gail’s cousin and William Lundigan is a family friend.
It’s Warren William’s film but Gail is fine in her scenes as the neglected wife.
I haven’t been able to see HER HUSBAND LIES. IMDB has only one review and indicates Gail plays a cabaret singer who marries a racketeer played by Ricardo Cortez.
Gail has a good part in DISBARRED, as a young lawyer hoodwinked by crooked lawyer, Otto Kruger who represents gangsters. A young Robert Preston works for the D.A’ s office.
Another Paramount title , MURDER WITH PICTURES (1936) is also on You Tube . Gail starts off as a mystery woman who comes into the life of breezy newspaper cameraman,Lew Ayres who is covering a murder trial.
I love how this little 69 minute thriller gets a full review in Variety – ……”it has writing flaws, but first rate performances. It provides Lew Ayres with a swell chance to shine……easily his best in months. It will prove entertaining for audiences who like sleuth bafflers!”
Oh, and Joyce Compton ( who plays Ayres’ girlfriend) gets a mention- “Joyce Compton is entirely sufficient!”
Despite appearing in major films and many ‘B’ features, Gail never got that contract with a studio who would work on making her a star. Typecasting won out.
Likeness? Both tall and dark. Gail Patrick and Lynn Bari.
Ahhh Gail Patrick was a goddess! Didn’t know about her career as a TV producer, that’s very impressive given the era, so thanks for this very informative piece #herstory #respect
Glad to hear from another fan.
I’ve a few of Gails films in my collection. She’s top billed in Woman In Bondage 1943 a lurid exploitation picture about the Nazi Women’s Auxiliary movement. A good cast includes Nancy Kelly and Tala Birell. Madonna’s Secret 1946 is a slow and arty thriller about an artist’s girlfriends who keep getting murdered. Gail’s biggest miscasting is playing the dizzy blonde
(!!) fiance of Ray Milland in The Doctor Takes A Wife 1940. What were they thinking?
The lady at extreme right in the Paramount starlets picture is Grace Bradley (Mrs William Boyd). Grace and Wallace Ford came to Britain in 1936 to star with John Mills in a musical called O.H.M.S.
Thanks for identifying Grace Bradley.