One wonders how many of the "squares" watching Perry Mason in 1959 knew that "tea" was a reference to marijuana? That scene alone makes this episode worth watching, but wait, there's more! Ubiquitous TV character actor Walter Burke plays sidekick to the equally ubiquitous 1950s star Frankie Laine, playing not a singer but a comic. But Troup steals the show, at least until the last minute when septuagenarian Collins steals it back, showing that he's no square, Daddy-O. The hidden joke is that Troup, far from being a down-but-unhip-Beatnik, was a talented (and wealthy) light jazz songwriter, penning "Route 66" 12 years before. He and his wife Julie London, also a singer, had a lifelong relationship with her ex, Jack Webb. Perry delivers one of his most sesquipedalian courtroom scenes, quoting verbatim from a forensics textbook, his intellectual gymnastics leaping over poor Prosecutor Burger and leaving him flat on the mat. Good fun all around!
But when Jackson is found dead, body stuffed neatly under his desk in his office it's Laine's pal and all around GoFer Walter Burke who is charged with the murder. Burke is playing a variation of his Sugar Boy character from All The King's Men, a little man with a temper and his prints are on a gun found at the scene.
Mutual loyalty between Laine and Burke prevents both prosecution and defense from arriving at the truth, but of course it's Raymond Burr who sees that. And Jackson was a man who double dealt a lot of people in his professional and personal life. The answer lies in the world of the beatniks who were making the scene at that point.
I do so love that coda after the case is solved when Lieutenant Tragg shows himself in command of the hipster lingo of the era. Ray Collins is one cool dude, Daddy-O.
Bobby Troup (Emergency) does an outstanding job playing a late 50s Beatnik musician (Troup was an accomplished musician and composer who wrote some of the music we hear in the episode). There is a memorable scene between Troup's beatnik and Lt. Tragg, played out over a piano with suggestions of the presence of marijuana. How rare would that have been on TV in 1959? This scene could have been the highlight of many other episodes. Speaking of rare subject matter for late 50s TV, there are a few hints subtly sprinkled here and there that a relationship between two male characters perhaps extends beyond just friendship.
There is also a memorable courtroom scene where Mason invokes some complicated legal reasoning to convince the judge to allow a cross-examination which on first blush appears to be improper. In the same scene, Mason displays an impressive level of knowledge in the field of forensic medicine. It really is vintage Mason. Again, this scene could have been the highlight of many other episodes.
Then there is the confession scene, with some terrific, well- written, dialog.
And finally, in the last minute, as if depositing a cherry on the ice cream sundae which is this episode, Lt. Tragg treats us to a hilarious and unexpected display of his proficiency in the hipster lingo of the day. This is the highlight of the episode to me, and makes watching this episode worthwhile all by itself.
A very entertaining episode. Highly recommended.
There's Bobby Troup (Dr Early in "Emergency!) as a bearded beatnik who plays cool piano and smokes pot. (Yes, really.) Then there's Frankie Laine as comic Danny Ross -- who looks remarkably like Danny Thomas. He doesn't sing "Mule Train" or crack a whip, though. And we learn that Della isn't familiar with Yiddish slang -- amazing for someone who lives in Los Angeles.
Perhaps the best moment in the entire series occurs in the courtroom when Mason argues with Burger over a point of testimony. Mason says something like "Mr Burger's taste for the obvious leads him to confuse my desire to protect my client's interests with arguing over technicalities." (That isn't exact, but it expresses the thought.) Burger is not happy, and murmurs sotto voce.
When a out-of-work comedian, Danny Ross, is promised a job by the slick talking agent named Charles Goff, that fails when Goff signs another person, the viewer knows that it will just be a matter of time before Goff gets knocked off by some form of violence. But it is not Ross that is accused of the murder but his side-kick Freddie Green.
Even with some sketchy evidence, Hamilton Burger's office issues a murder warrant prompting Perry Mason to come to the aide of the widely known comedian's friend. There will be plenty of people that are considered suspects as most of the cast would not be shedding tears for Goff's death but Perry will find the true murderer by means of translation some groovy talk produced by one person in the show.
Perhaps I was expecting too much from the title of the episode but this show just was not that interesting. When we do get the confession it was difficult to understand before Perry Della and Lt Tragg inform the viewers of just exactly was said. The best part of the show is the last one minute. Lt Tragg leaves us with a line that real heavy man or should I say Lt Daddy-O.
One thing I liked was the part played by Mary LaRoche was named Liza (with a "Z")- not Lisa. Paul had a great line in describing the beatnik club "No food, No drink, No laughs; they just sit around hating themselves". Bobby Troup's testimony/poetry is just lame, and I wonder why they didn't let him write his own lines, there. Della, as usual, made the other girls in this episode look like ALF. Makeup/wardrobe could have done better with Martha.
Ther's nothing cool about what happened in promoter Charles Goff, Harry Jackson , being found murdered in his office by his secretary Isa Hiller,Mary LaRoche, with his skull fractured and shot for good measures. Goff had screwed comedian Danny Ross played by country & western singer Frankie Laine out of staring in his upcoming TV show that Danny broke his back in promoting for him. As it turned out it wasn't Danny who was arrested in Goff's murder but his good friend the jockey size, 4 foot 10 inch and 95 pound, Freddie Green played by Walter Blake who's fingerprints were found on the murder weapon. In him being a big fan of Danny Ross Perry commits himself to defend his friend Freddie even though he admits to him, with a jail guard listening in, that he in fact did murdered Goff. Perry seeing right through Green's fake confession finds out that Goff wasn't killed by the bullet that came from Freddie's gun he was already dead. But was murdered some time earlier with a tire iron that split him skull open!
****SPOILERS**** There was no courtroom scene here with the killer breaking down under Perry's cross-examination and admitting his guilt. That took place in the hip and with it beatnik espresso bar the "Purple Wall" where Groff's murderer in beatnik lingo laid out the reasons why he offed Goff in him being too square to be fit in a round world! The only way his murdered explained to Perry how he could be able to fit in is by being whacked and then reborn gain. It took some time with Perry later explaining what all this hipster talk was all about for anyone to figure out just what Goff's killer in plain English meant!
Another odd plot twist was the challenge to the coroner's testimony, who for some reason can't tell whether the cause of death was a gunshot to the head or blunt force trauma(?!).
Instead of the usual courtroom confession, we show Perry wrangle the truth with Lt. Tragg in tow. Even though during the first season, Tragg tries to get Perry disbarred or arrested, by this time, he has learned to respect and trust him.
The episode is enjoyable to watch, but as with some of the better episodes, there seems to be too much story for the hour, two hours would have been more suitable. The whole segment with the murdered agent's partner and secretary seems to be from another episode.
This is one of the better ones that must have been pushed through while the Standards and Practices people were busy.
The funniest scene is Tragg and Buzzie at the piano. I rewound it a few times and laughed every time. Open use of weed on TV in 1959, as Buzzie would say, "Man, this is the wildest". Buzzie is funny as heck i the courtroom. Also, catch Raymond Burr breaking up at the end and Bobby Troup getting screen cred for the "Jaded Joker Theme".
The legal parts are pretty good, dropping in "contra-coup injuries" had me back in evidence class.