Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Caretaker's Cat 

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.



(story), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth Baxter (as John G. Agar)
Stuart Baxter
Maxine Cooper ...
Edith Devoe
Winifred Oakley
Dr. Douglas Keene (as Dick Crane)
Mr. Hilliard
Gordon T. Roland
Frank Biro ...
Judge (as 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?


Playing murder suspect James Hing in this episode is Benson Fong, who got his big break playing Tommy Chan, son of the famous detective, in six Charlie Chan movies. See more »


James Hing implausibly wears rather shabby work clothes to the bank while cashing a check for Mr. Baxter. He wears the same work clothes while setting fire to the Baxter mansion in the next scene; presumably both scenes were shot on the same day, and the production was too rushed to allow actor Benson Fong a change of costume. See more »


[first lines]
Peter Baxter: Miss Devoe. Miss Devoe!
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Version of The Case of the Black Cat (1936) See more »

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User Reviews

Oops, a scripted plan goes terribly wrong.
8 May 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After the first ten minutes of the show if you were given a guess of who is the guilty party then I am sure you would be correct. During the course of the investigation, the writers try to throw the suspicion on different parties but when the final courtroom scene is completed the obvious person will be serving time for murder.

It begins with a scheme by a rich sickly older man named Peter Baxter. It seems that Peter believes that his family is waiting for him to die so they can collect the inheritance. So he plans, with help from his long time gardener James Hing, to have the house catch on fire and Peter will pretend to have been killed by means of an cadaver. Mr Baxter tells everyone that he has left the entire estate to Hing and everyone else will get nothing. After three years if anyone contest the estate then they will be removed from the actual estate will that provides for the family.

Well this sounds nice but something goes terribly wrong during the fire part of the plan. Peter Baxter is actually killed and James Hing is accused of murder. Not many believe Hing's story that it was suppose to be a prank until Perry gets hold of the case and springs into action as he questions family members, nurses and bankers until he has a clear view of the situation.

It was nice to see the writers take a different approach to a mystery. A refreshing move from some of the rehashed plots already experience in season two. The story was good along with the cast in making this episode a good watch for viewers.

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