Perry Mason (1957–1966)
6 user 1 critic

The Case of the Half-Wakened Wife 

Perry Mason defends an old wartime buddy, Frank Lawton, who is framed for murder. He is a handy man accused of having an affair with the woman he works for and killing her husband. The evidence is piling up against him en masse.


(as Anton M. Leader)


(novel), (teleplay)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Drake
Hamilton Burger (credit only)
Lt. Tragg (credit only)
Stewart Bradley ...
Ellen Waring
Det. Sgt. Phillip Dix
Arthur Williams
Tom Palmer ...
Scott Shelby
Jason Johnson ...
Judge Ellsworth
Howard Petrie ...
Ben Parker
Howard Black
Richy - Telegram Delivery Man


Scott Shelby is jealous of the attention he believes handy man Frank Lawton is paying to his wife Marion. Scott sneaks his shotgun out of the house in a golf bag after loading it being careful to put no fingerprints on the shells. At a location away from his home he fires one barrel of the double barrel gun and then returns it to the rack in his house. That night from the boat house he calls Frank for help and to get his shotgun as he cuts the phone line there. Frank hears a shot, dresses, and retrieves the shotgun. He runs to the boat house but finds no one until Marion arrives. Meanwhile, Perry receives a telegram from Frank saying his unlucky army buddy is about to be arrested for murder. Perry and Della leave to meet Frank only to find the sheriff's department there looking for the missing Scott Shelby. The telegram and Frank's writings force Det. Sgt. Phillip Dix to arrest Frank. Perry believes Shelby skipped town due to being in debt but when his body turns up, the burden of ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

15 March 1958 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


By an odd coincidence, guest stars Barbara Lawrence and Phyllis Avery both retired from acting to become realtors. See more »


Somebody sent Perry a telegram in Frank Lawton's name, but none of the principles knew Frank well enough to know that he had a history with Perry. See more »


[first lines]
Frank Lawton: Pretty well-done on that side, Mrs. Shelby. How about a drink of water?
Marion Shelby: Oh, I'd love it.
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best episodes
19 October 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As a 'Perry Mason' fan there are times when you want to stand up and say "good show". This was one of those times. This will contain no spoiler since this is a show that a viewer must see.

The main character in the show is Frank Lawton (Stewart Bradley) that plays a handyman at a well-to-do estate of Scott Shelby. He is a old war-time buddy of Perry. The main problem is that Mr Scott (Tom Palmer) believes that his wife, Marion ( Phyllis Avery) and the handyman are an item. And this leads the viewer into the situation.

Only problem is that Mr. Shelby is running some kind of 'ponzi scheme' and is about to be revealed as a criminal. So Mr Shelby plans a situation where he disappears leaving the handyman as a suspect. However something goes terrible wrong. Mr Shelby is involved in a very serious crime that is described as one of the bloodiest in any PM episode.

The crime happens away from comfort LA county so we introduced to another detective and district Attorney. Det. Nix( Chad Adkins) does a good job of playing the investigator. Peter Hansen ( Dr Lee Baldwin from General Hospital) is the cast as the district attorney. Both do a good job in their roles.

The crime hinges on some photos. Which will prove that some of the tales being told are not correct. But this one photo- the brightest and most clear picture ever taken during the night hours- reveals the terrible crime. ( Have no fear the photo has been cleared by the TV standards)

I am not giving away too much- This is a good episode that needs to be watched. I think one of the best in the entire 'Perry Mason' series. Good story, good acting and an ending worth the price of admission.

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