Perry Mason: Season 1 (1957 - 1958)


Season 1
Perry Mason

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Air date: Sep 21, 1957

The first client of defense attorney Perry Mason (Raymond Burr in the very first episode of the TV series bearing his name is red-haired, blue-eyed Evelyn Bagby (played by Whitney Blake, in real life the mother of actress Meredith Baxter). It doesn't look good for Evelyn, who claims that she was being chased by a car driven by a man wearing a hood, and that she fired two shots scare off her pursuer. Alas, the body of Harry Merrill has been found in the wreckage of his car--with a single bullet in his body and a pillowcase over his head. Charged with murder, Evelyn hopes that Perry can clear her name...but it is clear that she isn't telling him the whole story. This episode is based on a 1954 novel by Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner.

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Air date: Sep 28, 1957

Among the reasons that Doris Cole (Hillary Brooke) has left her husband Peter (John McNamara) is that she once awoke to find him standing over her bed, brandishing a knife. Peter insists that he is a chronic sleepwalker and had no idea what he was doing. Even so, when Phillip Kendall (Harry Hickox), an extortionist who has threatened to block the divorce that Peter so desperately wants, is found stabbed to death, Peter is charged with murder. It is up to Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) to prove Cole's innocence--and to reveal the guilty party. This episode is based on a 1936 novel by Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner)

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Air date: Oct 5, 1957

In order to get rid of her husband Bruce's mistress Roxy Howard (Greta Thyssen), Sybil Granger hires Perry (Raymond Burr) to secretly help her gain a majority financial interest in Bruce's oil company. But someone else is apparently aware of what Sybil is up to, and that someone is old George Lutz (Richard Hale). After catching Sybil spying on Roxy, George is shot to death. Inasmuch as Sybil is already his client, Perry assumes the task of clearing her of a murder charge. This episode is based on a 1955 novel by Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner.

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Air date: Oct 12, 1957

The title of this episode refers to a curious chemical process created by college student Marv Adams (Gary Vinson). Alas, Marv may not only be a drowning duck but a dead duck when he is charged with the murder of unscrupulous private detective Donald Briggs (Harry Landers). Acting as Marv's defense counsel, Perry (Raymond Burr) learns that Briggs was hired by Clyde Waters (Victor Sutherland), the father of Marv's fiancee Helen (Carolyn Craig)--and that Marv's father was Ben Devereaux, who was executed for murder 18 years ago, a fact that Briggs was trying to use to his advantage in extorting money from several other people connected with the case. This episode is based on a 1942 novel by Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner.

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Air date: Oct 19, 1957

Frances Celane (Olive Sturgess) will lose her father's $1,000,000 trust fund unless she waits eighteen months after her 25th birthday to get married. Unfortunately, Frances is already secretly wed to Rod Gleason (Brian Hutton)--and there's a baby on the way. Ultimately, Frances' uncle Edward Norton (Raymond Greenleaf), executor of her father's estate, is found murdered, and Rod is charged with the crime. In his efforts to save Rod from the gas chamber, Perry (Raymond Burr) and Paul Drake (William Hopper) scrutinize the comings and goings of the late Mr. Norton, his attorney Arthur Crinston (Robert Griffin), and his secretary Donald Graves (William Schallert). This episode is based on a 1933 novel by Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner.

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Air date: Oct 26, 1957

The flourishing orchid business owned by Mildred Kimber (Anne Barton) may pass into the hands of unscrupulous florist Harry Marlow (Dan Seymour), who has arranged for Mildred's husband to lose all his money in a rigged poker game at the nightclub owned by Sam Lynk (Michael Emmett). Subsequently, Lynk is found poisoned to the death, and the evidence points to Mildred. Determined to prove Mildred's innocence, Perry (Raymond Burr) finds that DA Hamilton Burger (William Tallman) is more determined than ever to get a conviction--meaning that most of Perry's work will have to take place outside the courtroom! Based on a 1940 novel by Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner, this episode was remade in 1965 as "The Case of the Candy Queen."

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Air date: Nov 2, 1957

While vacationing in Bear Valley, Perry (Raymond Burr) is pressed into service when wheelchair-bound water skiier Mark Cushing (Eric Sinclair). It seems that Belle Adrian (Sylvia Field) had sworn vengeance against Mark for assaulting her daughter Carla (played by a pre-I Dream of Jeannie Barbara Eden). The key evidence in the case turns out to be something as simple as a lipstick sample. Paul Fix makes the first of several appearances as William Hale, the small-town district attorney with whom Perry matches wits whenever outside the jurisdiction of his tradtional nemesis Hamilton Burger. This episode is based on a 1951 novel by Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner).

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Air date: Nov 9, 1957

Anita Bonsal (Jean Willes) is jealous of her roommate Fay Allison (Sue England), who is about to marry Anita's ex-boyfriend Dane Grover (Douglas Dick). In fact, she is so jealous that she is willing to frame Fay for the murder of Carver Clement (John Holland), a married man with whom Anita is having an affair. As Fay's defense attorney, Perry must convince the court that the evidence against his client is not only circumstantial, but planted. And in case the reader thinks that the identity of the guilty party is obvious, consider that the "crimson kiss" found on Clement's corpse may NOT have been planted by a woman! This episode is based on a short story by Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner.

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Air date: Nov 16, 1957

Movie producer John Addison (Robert Ellenstein) ends up in deep trouble when he picks up an attractive female hitchhiker (Carol Leigh), who proceeds to shake him down for money. Addison turns to Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) for help when he is accused of murdering Edgar Ferrell (Paul Cavanaugh)--and the only witness to the crime happens to be the blackmailing girl. This episode is based on The Case of the Vagabond Virgin, a 1940 novel by Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner (the title was, of course, altered to satisfy the CBS censors!) In 1965, the same novel would be refilmed, with variations, as "The Case of the Golden Bears."

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Air date: Nov 23, 1957

After accusing his wife Myrna (June Dayton) of trying to poison him, Ed Davenport (John Stephenson) dies in a motel room. Worse still, Ed has written a letter, implicating his wife in his death. By the time the police arrive, both corpse and letter have disappeared, but some arsenic-spiked candy is found on the scene--evidence enough to charge Myrna with murder when Ed's body is finally recovered. Faced with what seems to be an open-and-shut case, Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) must perform some spectacular legal calisthenics to save Myrna from execution. This episode is based on a 1954 novel by Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner.

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