Perry Mason: Season 2, Episode 19

The Case of the Caretaker's Cat (7 Mar. 1959)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Peter Baxter decides to test the loyalty of his heirs. He pretends to change his will cutting them all out and leaving his estate to groundskeeper, James Hing. Hing is then supposed to burn down Baxter's house with a medical cadaver in it.



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Title: The Case of the Caretaker's Cat (07 Mar 1959)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Benson Fong ...
Kenneth Baxter (as John G. Agar)
Robert Knapp ...
Stuart Baxter
Maxine Cooper ...
Edith Devoe
Winifred Oakley
Richard Crane ...
Dr. Douglas Keene (as Dick Crane)
Mr. Hilliard
Anthony Eustrel ...
Gordon T. Roland
Barney Biro ...
A.J. Nelson - Paint Store Owner


Peter Baxter's family are shocked to learn that he prepared a new will shortly before his death in a tragic fire leaving everything to his caretaker, James Hing. Kenneth Baxter and his cousin Stuart Baxter are particularly distressed and have every intention of challenging the validity of the will in court. James Hing approaches Perry Mason to help him defend the will and his inheritance but he isn't' being entirely truthful with him. In fact, James is arrested for Baxter's murder and the convoluted truth finally emerges. Wanting to test the loyalty of his heirs, Baxter wanted to test their loyalty and respect and planned to fake his death. James Ling admits to setting fire but Baxter was not supposed to die. Perry takes on the case knowing that someone other than his client made it impossible for Baxter to leave the burning house. Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

7 March 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the second-season episode "The Case of the Caretaker's Cat", a servant burns down his employer's house and ends up on trial for murder. But whenever the name of the accelerant the servant used is mentioned, the phrase "volatile spirits" is repeatedly - and obviously - dubbed in by the original actors. A check of the script filed for copyright purposes at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. shows the accelerant was originally "mineral spirits", a paint thinner. Apparently, CBS censors objected to on-air mention of an actual substance that could be used to start fires, hence the dubbing-in of the more generic-sounding "volatile spirits". See more »


Version of The Case of the Black Cat (1936) See more »

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What the heck is Res Gestae! The feature race at Aqueduct!
9 May 2013 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

***SPOILERS*** Being his loyal and faithful servant for the last 25 years who never disobeyed his employer "Old Man" Peter Baxter, Anthony Jochim, orders the house caretaker James Hing, Benson Fong, always did what he was told to do without question by his master. That in setting his master's house on fire with him in it in order for Baxter to find out if his heirs Kenneth & Stuart, John Agar & Robert Knapp, and Winnie Oakley, Judy Lewis, won't contest his last will and testament after his death. A will in which he left each of them one dollar of his almost four million dollar fortune! And that's not even counting his sprawling mansion which is worth at least a cool million in property value, not counting the antiques silverware paintings and furniture in it, alone!

It was Baxter's plan to fake his death with Hing's help and then see how his surviving family members would react with him leaving it all, his entire fortune, to caretaker Hing. What happened is that when Hing on Baxter's orders set his house on fire Baxter never made it outside! That's by someone slipping Baxter a Mickey Finn before bedtime that knocked him out cold before he could check out of the place. Thers' also the fact that the cadaver or dead body that was to replace Baxter never got there, Baxter's bedroom, either! In what's an obvious case of premeditated murder Hing is arrested and charged for committing it in Baxter's demise. Having Perry Mason, Raymond Burr, take on his case he's a bit perplexed in Hing's story and at first drops him as his client altogether. With Perry checking out all the fact and one is Hing's mindless loyalty to his former and late boss Peter Baxter he realizes that there's something to Hing's story as ridicules and illogical as it sounds!

****SPOILERS*** As it turned out Hing mindlessly following the strange orders of his feathered brained boss Peter Baxter almost landed him on a seat in the San Quentin gas chamber. What in fact happened is that someone took advantage of Hing's uncompromising loyalty for his boss and master Peter Baxter as cover to do his boss in. Perry soon realized the undebatable fact, in and out of a courtroom, that Hing couldn't be in two places at the same time: Downstairs setting the fire to the Baxter mansion and upstairs in Baxter's bedroom making sure he's out of danger and having him replaced by a cadaver that he got from a local morgue! Cast member Benson Fong is best remembered as Charlie Chan's #3 son Tommy Chan as well as the old & wise master Han Fei in the 1970's Kung Fu TV series. As for actor John Agar he's best remembered, besides being once married to America's Sweetheart Shirley Temple, as John Wayne's sidekick in the stirring war action film "Sands of Iwo Jima" as well as classic Western "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon".

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