Pants on Fire, Raymond Burr

Raymond Burr is best known as Perry Mason, Erle Stanley Gardner’s, legal beagle and later Ironsides on television, always shedding light on lies and misdeeds and nary losing the fight. Perry existed before television, he was a radio favorite, but it was Burr’s intensity and drive for excellence that made the L.A. solicitor a household name, and running for a remarkable nine seasons before fading away into rerun history in 1966.

That, though, was not the end of Burr, for he returned as the wheel-chaired crime fighter in Ironsides, which ran for another 8 seasons. Television crime-detective series owe a lot to Burr and Perry Mason, who can easily be called the godfather of all honest lawyers which we know has no price.


The magic of Blarney

Burr was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, near Vancouver. His father, Joseph, was a hardware dealer, and his mother a pianist and music teacher.

Other Burr family members joined him, including his brother Benjamin and Hugh. Joseph settled in New Westminster, as it was the original capitol of British Columbia.The city, aka “The Royal City” was named by Queen Victoria after her favorite part of London, and is twelve miles southeast of Vancouver on the banks of the Fraser River. It became the hub for the Cariboo gold rush and business boomed.

Joseph Burr got a steady job at the new penitentiary and married Mary Jane. Their their eldest son William married Minerva Smith who was born in Chicago 1893, moving back to Canada for the gold boom. During WWI, the Smiths moved again, this time for California, after their daughter was married, and the Burr’s followed with their three children. Alas the California expedition did not pan out for Bill Burr and they were back in New Westminster.

Thus Raymond, conceived in America, born in Canada and made his name back in the States. By his own account he was a “big boy,” weighing twelve and three-quarter pounds at birth and “growing.”1

                    Burr’s Chart


Does his chart show us anything about Raymond, or why his portrayal of Perry Mason was so darned good? Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it?

There is no birth time for Burr, just the date on of May 21, 1917. So reading Michael Seth Starr’s book 1 Hiding in Plain sight, Applause Theatre Book Publishers c. 2009 [\mfn] I have rectified Burr to 06 Libra or Esoteric Symbols on the blackboard 2 from Gavin McClung’s Hyperion Symbols. This symbol highlights how Burr’s public and private life were wildly discordant.

He has a preponderance in the ninth house, rather à propos for a man who played lawyers for the bulk of his career, and highlighting his own interest in justice and integrity.

Ray and Bob

His Line of Motivation is conjunct via the Ptolemaic orbs Marc Jones used, and so too is his Line of Vitality.

Because his ascendant is Libra and ruled by Venus, the green planet has a strong effect on his overall chart and here we see it conjunct his South Node, suggesting the importance of love and being loved meant to Burr. This was noticeable in his life because of his tendency to overindulge and feel “unloved” from his increasing size, thus Bob’s constancy in their relationship meant a lot to him.

Burr is a bucket with a Uranian handle found in its own sign of Aquarius. Uranus rules electronics and the airwaves and it was a natural for Burr, who struck out in the theatre, to make a splash in television. His preponderance in the ninth house made him naturally interested in the law and its effects on families. As Thomas Leitch in his “Perry Mason: TV Milestones” book notes,

The most obvious reason for Perry Mason’s prodigious popularity is the program’s most frequently noted feature: its dependence on a dramatic formula that varied remarkably little over its television life.

Every episode began with a trouble family, or a quasi-family group (families are ruled by Cancer and for Burr it is in the ninth house of legal affairs) , an innocent threatened with expulsion from the domestic circle (Saturn ) and a murder for which the innocent was arrested (South Node in Cancer 8th house).

Each accused kept Mason (Uranus in the fourth for his courtroom appearance) whose wily legal strategies in and out of the courtroom won the client’s release and often a confession in the witness box to boot. (Pluto in Cancer in eighth house creating a total metamorphosis of the innocent, sort of Le Miserable like.)

Thomas Leitch, Perry Mason: TV Milestones, Wayne State University Press, 2005

Case closed

Reviewing the chart and looking over the role of Perry, Burr used his chart to its utmost, in fulfilling his destiny.

Burr’s Moon in Gemini gave him the ability to have a double life, but unlike the great comedian W. C. Fields who also misled his public about his feelings about boys, Burr is always a staunch ally of children in Perry Mason. He tells the young Billy Mumy “no matter the time or where I am, if you need me, call me” in the Case of the Shifty Shoebox, and the boy does run into the courtroom, interrupting the proceedings with important news.

As for Field’s famous quip in the Bank dick “here’s a nickel go play in traffic kid”, both Fields and Burr are notable for leaving a substantial amount of their fortunes to the welfare of foundling boys. It just was not much of a surprise for Burr but it is a happy ending.



  1. Starr, Michael Seth, Raymond Burr: Hiding in Plain Sight, c. 2009, Applause Publishing. 280 pp.
    1. Starr has done several of these exposes. His other works are on Art Carney, Ringo Starr and William Shatner. Most of the reviews complain of the poor writing; sorry to say that’s almost always the case in these books, see Kitty Kelly oeuvre.


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Top Chef Tom Colicchio

Chef Colicchio won the Best New Chef award while he was at: Mondrian, in New York City. The restaurant is now closed and previous to that he was at the incredible Quilted Giraffe 1 Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio at the AT&T Building, Gotham Bar and Grill, 40 Main Street (Millburn, New Jersey). Many of his delights can be found over at FoodandWine. This is my favorite his Short Ribs. Click on this link and a video will take you through the recipe.

Colicchio was born on August 15, 1962 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He got married on September 14, 2000, place unknown though I imagine NYC.

Colicchio’s chart

Mapping Colicchio

Colicchio’s ascendant is 22 Aquarius, Stars in a distant galazy imploding via the Hyperion Symbols. This represents the powerful events that have great influence by an unerring sense of orderly steps that build toward a limitless assumption.

The chef is a Locomotive with his lead planet Jupiter in Neptune, the natural ruler in the first house. Since Jupiter becomes his focal determinator, it highlights his determination to excel in his field by creating new twists to traditional recipes and thereby exalting them to culinary works of art.

This is supported by his progressive Moon married to a tentative Mercury — he can easily envision recipes and then meticulously work out the process that will create them for his patrons so it can be repeatable process.

  • Colicchio’s Line of Vitality is in opposition.
  • His Line of Efficiency is absent.
  • His Line of Motivation is semi-sextile.
  • His Line of Culture is sextile.

His Part of Fortune is 23 Leo 42 in the sixth house of servants and service and suggests he has great acumen in not only be precise but also able to develop his creations in a timely fashion. It has the symbol of clock set at exactly 8.01. The chef has won the James Beard Foundation Medal five times and is no surprise, as he and Beard have the same elemental setup though with different planets.

TV chef Julia Child also has same basic elemental mix except for a bit more Fire that makes sense for a woman who trail-blazed her way into the gourmet game and onto tv; by the way Colicchio shares the latter’s birthday.


Colicchio has written a slew of books on cooking. In no particular order they are:

  • Bringing it home: favorite recipes from a life of adventurous eating (coauthored with Gail Simmons and Johnny Miller)
  • The Oxford Companion to Beer (coauthored with Oliver Garrett)
  • James Beard’s American Cookery (coauthored with Jim Beard)
  • Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird (coauthored with Gabriel Rucker, Meredith Erickson, Lauren Fortgang, & Andrew Fortgang)
  • Try this at Home: Recipes from my head to your plate (coauthored with Richard Blais)
  • Salt to Taste: The Key to Confident Delicious Cooking (coauthored with Marco Canora, Cathy Young, John Kerrick)
  • the Last Course: the Desserts of Gramercy Tavern (coauthored with Claudia Fleming, Melissa Clark, & Danny Meyer)

His Solo efforts are:

  • Top Chef: The Cookbook
  • Craft of Cooking: Notes and Recipes from a Restaurant Kitchen
  • Witchcraft: Craft a sandwich into a meal


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    Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio

Majenkir Gustave the Good goes to sleep

While his official name was Gustave the Good on the premise that whatever you’re nickname is surely what you are not, but we called him Gusto because he was full of life and energy. He was a borzoi — a Russian Wolfhound — that we had to put to asleep 2 weeks before his tenth birthday, August 18, 2010 (time unknown) because he became paralyzed sometime Sunday afternoon. We believe it was cancer though we did no tests to confirm but I say this based on the progression of the disease since I first noticed it and the many years of experiences owning dogs with similar prognoses.

Mars on the 8th house cusp is the needle that put him to sleep.

We called mobile vets but no one showed though the mortician would have carried him away had she answered the call & burnt him at his crematorium. Because of his heft, about 90 pounds, I had to wait for a helper to get him into the truck. He had a good appetite last night eating lots of honey ham and cheese with a chocolate chip cookie for dessert — one should dine well before the end.

Martin Goldsmith’s Revised Symbols was perfect for the Lord of his chart — 25 Virgo. “Uncanny” is what I thought when I first read it.

Goldsmith’s Revised Sabian Symbol for 25th degree of Virgo
At the burial of a public official, the widow delivers a eulogy containing both praise and criticism for the deceased.

Inevitable judgment at the end of life-as to what one accomplished and what one left undone (inevitable revelation of personal secrets); the need to occasionally assess one’s life and put it in order; cleaning up one’s messes vs. leaving a legacy of unresolved karma (evasive rationalizations; may ‘bury’ themselves under a pile of problems through rash or thoughtless behavior); living up to one’s own expectations (harshly self-critical); commitment to achieving one’s personal goals; going forward despite setbacks; dealing honestly with one’s errors and getting back on track; building up one’s reputation vs. realizing that one’s real accomplishments and shortcomings are what they are, no matter how much false praise or unjustified blame is heaped on one’s name; second chances.

Goldsmith’s Revised Sabian Symbols are from ‘The Zodiac by Degrees” Second Edition by Martin Goldsmith, published by Red Wheel/Weiser, York Beach, Maine c. 2004.

Sleep well dear Prince. We loved you so.

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