Della Street, The Perfect Secretary

della street

“Della Street More Than An Ordinary Secretary”

Beautiful, intelligent, efficient, charming, loyal, well dressed.  These are only a few of the words which could be used to describe Della Street (Barbara Hale).  As you know, Della was confidential secretary to the famous attorney Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) in the TV series “Perry Mason”.

During the late 50s and early to mid-60s Della was the role model for secretaries everywhere.  Since she was a working girl Della had only a limited wardrobe.  She would change accessories to make a new look.  In order not to appear outdated she wore her clothing below the knee at a classic length.   Accessories were minimal, maybe a pearl necklace, a charm bracelet and/or a watch.  She also sometimes wore a necklace with her initial and sometimes a small ring.  Many secretaries aimed to copy her professional dress style in their own careers.

When the three were alone Della, Perry and Paul called each other by their first names.  Whenever they were in the presence of an outsider they properly referred to each other as Miss Street, Mr. Mason and Mr. Drake.

Della liked to work and was always willing to pitch in with overtime.  Occasionally she even went out on cases and did some snooping on her own.

She was observed to sometimes flirt with her boss Perry as well as with their private detective Paul Drake.  Drake often called Della “Beautiful”.  There was never a hint of anything improper between Della and either of the men.  However, in the finale episode Della and Perry did share a kiss.

In one episode “The Case of the Fatal Fortune” Della, Perry and Paul attend a wedding.  Della catches the bride’s bouquet which, of course, indicates she‘ll be the next to marry…  When Della’s glance happens to land on Paul he retreats saying “Well don’t look at me”.

Although a working girl, Della knew the scents of some very expensive perfumes.  In “The Case of the Shattered Dream” a woman being interviewed was supposed to be poor.  Della was able to recognize the scent of “Eternity” perfume the woman was wearing.  This perfume sold for $150 per ounce.  In another episode she recognized the scent on a glove found at a crime scene as “Samadi” another expensive perfume.

At times Perry would ask Della to give him a woman’s insight into a case that had him perplexed.  She would come up with some detail Perry had not noticed and this would help him to solve the case.

Barbara Hale received an Emmy for her role as Della Street in 1959 and was nominated again in 1961.

After the “Perry Mason” TV series ended Barbara Hale appeared as Della Street in the made for TV movies which followed.

Comments

  1. ANNA MOSHER says:

    Della Street is the reason I became a secretary. I always wanted a relationship with my boss like
    Della had with Perry. I think I was successful. As much as I wanted to be a legal
    secretary, I ended up in the academic side of the medical field and loved it. Thank you
    Della (barbara Hale)!!!

    • ANNA MOSHER says:

      A correction to my previous post… “barbara” the “b” should be “B”. I must correct it as
      a responsible secretary would do. Swallow my pride and admit a mistake. ;-)

  2. Always did admire the character and class of Della Street, in the books and the TV series. Barbara Hale portrayed the role to perfection. Then again.. in my humble opinion, there’s never been a TV series more perfectly cast as was “Perry Mason”. Think on it, can you imagine any one else portraying Perry or Paul or Lt. Tragg? And absolutely no one could have ever done justice to the role of Hamilton Burger,

  3. Mary B. says:

    “However, in the finale episode Della and Perry did share a kiss.” When did that happen?! What did I miss?!

  4. BlairBoyer says:

    My Mom was a Legal Secretarty who LOVED Della Street. I remember as a kid Perry Mason always being on the TV but was a little young to follow it. Many years later I was able to watch the entire series as an adult with my Mom (R.I.P.) and enjoy it together with her! I think I’ll watch an episode now!

  5. william t kennard says:

    yea im sure they thought about it ,but working together an other loves probally prevented its a shame all are gone when watchng you wish you could send them a friend request , still watching perry a show that knew people had rights

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