Erle Stanley Gardner deserves more than a plaque in Ventura.
Gardner’s mystery novels have sold about 300 million copies worldwide. They led to the creation of the “Perry Mason” television series, which made its debut in 1957 and ran until 1966. Reruns continue to draw viewers into the tales of the brilliant defense attorney, his beautiful assistant, Della Street, and his prosecutorial adversary, Hamilton Burger. (Another version of the show ran in 1973-74.)
“Erle Stanley Gardner is perhaps our most famous son,” said Ventura historian Richard Senate, who wrote a book on the late author’s connection to the town and periodically leads tours of Gardner’s old haunts.
Gardner is not a giant literary figure. In fact, I’m not sure he’s a literary figure at all, but he was a talented and entertaining writer who gave America one of its most memorable fictional characters, and as the most famous writer Ventura has produced, the city needs to get serious about honoring him.