Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Grinning Gorilla 

Perry helps Josephine Kempton after Della buys the diary of a girl who committed suicide. Her ex-boss has been telling people she is a thief so she sued. Perry has to rescue her from a gorilla trapping her with her dead boss.



(story), (teleplay)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Tragg (credit only)
Nathon Fallon
Helen Cadmus
Asst. District Attorney F.A. Snell
Josephine Kempton
Mortimer Hershey (as Gavin Mac Leod)
Sydney Hardwick
Benjamin Addicks
Deputy Sergeant
Jim Boles ...
Estate Guard


After Della Street buys a package of memorabilia dealing with a woman, Helen Cadmus, who died a year ago, she and Perry are approached by Nathon Fallon who, it seems, is prepared to pay any price to get his hands on the material on behalf of his employer, Benjamin Addicks. Perry is intrigued and asks Paul Drake to look into Addicks' background. They soon track down a former housekeeper, Josephine Kempton, who is in the process of suing Addicks for slander as he has been spreading lies about her being a thief. Addicks is a strange man, a scientist who keeps a menagerie of animals including a gorilla. When Josephine calls Perry from Addicks' home asking for help, he arrives to find the gorilla in Addick's bedroom and Josephine on the floor avoiding the glare of the gorilla, who has seemingly gotten out of its enclosure. Addicks is dead but, when the police find that he has been stabbed, it's clear that someone other than the gorilla was involved. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

29 April 1965 (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 original novel, the threatening letter writer is the dead man's first wife and not his brother. Part of the novel's plot revolves around whether or not the girl can inherit from the dead man's estate due to the possibility that their marriage was bigamous. See more »


In Perry's initial conversation with Mortimer Hershey, his glasses are a light colored frame and no lenses. The next scene his glasses have a darker frame with lenses. In the following scene the glasses switch back to the lighter color frame without lenses. See more »


[first lines]
Della Street: [hurrying down a hall with a package in her arms] Perry... here I am.
Perry Mason: Did you have a chance to call the office?
Della Street: Well, I was just going to, but...
Perry Mason: We have to be up in 212 in less than five minutes.
Della Street: Yes, I know. If you'll just hold this, it will only take me a minute to call Gertie.
See more »

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User Reviews

A different kind of Mason episode-
14 December 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I really do not know where to begin on this episode. There is so much going on that it was hard to concentrate on just one aspect of the show. Unless you watch this episode I do not think anyone can accurately give a review due to all the twist and turns that was written into the script. But I am going to try to give a short review of this full-tray dish of Perry mystery.

The episode starts out innocent enough when Della buys a diary belonging to Helen Cadmus. Helen had been declared missing and then dead after falling off a boat belonging to her employer Benjamin Addick (Harvey Stephens).

Perry was not to happy with Della since the diary seemed to be taking much of her time (Perry was actually upset at Della). That was until he got two offers for the diary, one from Nathan Fallon (Victor Buono) and Mortimer Hershey (Gavin MacLeod). Both of these men worked for Mr Addick (a kinda hermit that studied apes) and set the price of the diary to $5,000. All this sparked the interest of Perry since he thought the death of Helen may be contained in the diary.

Also going on was a former maid named Josphine Kempton (Lurene Tuttle). She had a slander case on Mr Addick, when he accused her of stealing items from his house. Now she cannot get any employment due the accusations of her theft.

After some of the stolen items were found, thanks to Perry and the diary, Mr Addick wanted to settle the lawsuit with Josephine. He calls her to the house but when she gets there Mr Addick is dead and there is a large gorilla running through the house. --(In something that seemed to unbelievable Perry is called to the house and is pinned down by the gorilla. That may be interesting in a book but on a TV drama series, it did not play well.)

After the police find that Mr Addick was not only mauled by the gorilla but he was also stabbed with scissors, they arrest Josephine for the murder.

But due to some clever dealing with the local DA's office, Perry finds the true murderer which will leave the Addick household talking for years to come.

This is only a small amount of what is going on in this episode. There is just too much to mention without giving away most of the ending. It may not be the best episode of the series, but it is one that is different from the others and has multitude of nuggets for the viewer.

This is one episode that is difficult to vote. It was a different kind of story than we are use to while watching 'Perry Mason', but then was not a believable written script. Some parts were interesting to the storyline while others seemed useless and should have been saved for another episode. Just too much stuff for a 52 minutes show.

One good note- In this episode we see more of Perry's anger than we have seen since the first season. At one point he pounds his desk.

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