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Perry Mason Season 1 Defendants: Albert Sanders vs. C. Stewart Brent

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

The tournament’s seventh matchup features one denizen of the outhouse and another of the penthouse as hard-luck Johnny Albert Sanders (The Case of the Hesitant Hostess) faces off against real estate mogul C. Stewart Brent (The Case of the Gilded Lily).

Working pro bono for cats like Albert is more Perry’s style, but helping out fat cats like C. Stewart Brent certainly helps pay the bills (and the office lease in Brent’s building!). Let’s see who wins this showdown.

Pregame Analysis: Brent’s got the money, but Albert has the sympathy vote.

  1. Was the defendant memorable?

Albert Sanders is Perry’s first pro bono client, a court-appointed defendant who has no family and no money. He lost his family in a car accident when he fell asleep behind the wheel after 36 hours on the road. He likes music and gets a gig at a local record store as the episode ends. Yes, he’s memorable.

C. Stewart Brent is memorable just because we’ve seen his name before on Perry’s office building. However, if you asked me for more than that about our man CS Brent, I would’ve drawn a blank.

Advantage: Albert Sanders

  1. Was the defendant the most compelling non-permanent character in the case?

The Case of the Hesitant Hostess has its share of compelling characters. There’s gum-smacking, snow-trafficking, murder-committing Joe Gibbs as well as Paul-dating, blow-taking hostess Inez Kaylor. I wouldn’t put Albert above either of them, but he’s not completely lost in the episode.

As for The Case of the Gilded Lily, Brent has to take a backseat to three peroxide blondes: Enid Griffin, Sheila Bowers, and Anne Brent (Stewart’s own wife). It’s their episode, really. Brent just bankrolls the fun.

Advantage: Albert Sanders.

  1. Does Perry respect the defendant?

Perry doesn’t have to take Albert’s case but does so after a little digging into Albert’s past. Perry’s the one who offers an explanation for the great tragedy of Sanders’s life (“You can’t keep on blaming yourself for an accident”) and then arranges for his employment when the case is over (“This way he can listen to music all day and still get paid.”).

As Perry’s landlord, Brent deserves a modicum of respect, but it’s telling that Brent goes to Paul Drake first about his case instead of Mason and that Brent confesses the murder (a lie) to protect his wife, something no good Mason client would ever do. But the man does get to solve the crime himself with the help of his wife as the episode ends. Perry has enough respect for Brent to let him celebrate with Anne as he and Tragg wait in the car.

Advantage: Push

  1. Finally, do we have a prior history with the actor or actress?

Both Fred Sherman (Albert Sanders) and Grant Withers (C. Stewart Brent) only appeared in one episode of Perry Mason. A year after his appearance, Withers killed himself with a combo of sleeping pills and vodka.

Advantage: Push

Final Verdict: The judge finds Albert Sanders the victor in this head-to-head matchup.

Congratulations, Albert! Drop the needle on your favorite record, and get paid for listening to those good times roll!

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