August 20, 2011
The Case of the Singular Double begins with Lucy Stevens, played by Connie ‘Mr Ed’ Hines in the L.A. airport delivering a suitcase to a car against her will. The $60,000 that was suppose to be in the case was missing. Not wanting to deal with this job anymore she stages a fake suicide by driving her car into the ocean and goes to Mason claiming she is looking for her missing cousin. However, the car is found and there is a body in it and no one seems to know who it is. Lucy is arrested for the murder. The list of suspects includes John Ruskin (Arch Johnson), Whitney Locke (Alan Baxter), Catherine Locke (Andrea King), and Hugo Burnette (Wilton Graff). The case is tried by ADA Cutter (Harry Townes) as Hamilton Burger is missing from this episode. To the best of my knowledge this story didn’t come from a Gardner novel. I consider this episode to be well above average with good performances from Alan Baxter and Wilton Graff. The cast included Street, Drake, and Tragg and was first aired as episode #99 in October 1960.
August 20, 2011
The Case of the Lavendar Lipstick involves a new shade of lipstick by
the Caresse Cosmetic Company who is having problems with their new products being stolen and given to Gabe Rawson (Walter Coy) a rival in the beauty supply business. Max Pompey (Whit Bissel), general manager, is behind some of it setting up employee Karen Lewis (Pat Breslin). When the owner of the company Silas Vance (James Bell) turns up dead, Karen is arrested for the murder. Suspects include Rawson, Peter Nichols (John Lupton), Myra Heston (Rita Lynn) and Charles Knudsen (Dabbs Greer). A key part of the murder is a new shade of lavendar lipstick. Another part of the mystery concerns the past of Karen’s father and the relationship he had with Silas Vance. This is a good episode in the series. I was a little skeptical of the ending but I’ll go along with the theory Mason had on this one. This episode was #100 in Season 4 and was first aired in October 1960. To the best of my knowledge this wasn’t a novel that Gardner wrote. Bissel was very good as Max.
August 20, 2011
The Case of the Lonely Heiress was originally published as a novel in 1948 while the television episode aired in February of 1958 and was quite a bit different from the book so you could put this in the category of loosely based. Robert Harris, who starred in How To Make A Monster, was the publisher of a magazine called “Lonely Hearts Calling” and as Edmund Lacey accepts an ad from Marilyn Clark (Kathleen Crowley) who is trying to trap a con artist Charles Barnaby (LQ Jones) who fleeced her sister out of a lot of money and later died. Delores Coterro (Anne Navarro) is Barnaby’s partner and her job is to act jealous throw things and in the scuffle hits Charles on the side of the head with her purse knocking him out and appears to have killed him. It turns out he was poisoned and Marilyn is arrested for the murder. If you’ve read the book you’ll find it much better than the adapted screenplay. All of the original cast Della, Paul, Tragg, and Burger appear in the episode. While Robert Harris is excellent overall this was just an average entry in the series. Read the book as its a good one. This was episode #20 in the series.
August 16, 2011
The Case of the Treacherous Toupee involves a takeover of a tool and die company. The owner, Hartley Basset, played by Thomas Henry returns from an unexplained two year absence to find his wife Sybil Basset played by Peggy Converse about to sell their share in the company. Creating a reign of terror upon his return he promptly begins firing people one of them his second in command Peter Dawson played by Philip Ober and ends up being murdered and as a result Dawson is arrested for the murder. The name of the episode has to do with the fact that Dawson wore a toupee and part of it was in the hands of the dead Hartley. The stepson Dick Hart was played a young Robert Redford, Ken Wood the plant manager played by Bert Freed, his wife, and the accountant Arthur Colemar played by Nelson Olmsted are all suspects. Teddy Hart, a key witness played by Cindy Robbins disappears and can’t be found. When she can’t be located Mason hires a look alike and sets a trap to catch the killer. An exciting ending makes this an above average entry that included the regular cast of Street, Drake, Tragg, and Burger. It was interesting to see Redford but frankly his acting was below average and detracted from the episode. This was first aired in September of 1960 and to the best of my knowledge didn’t come from a novel. This was episode #96 and was part of Season #4.