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The world of jazz and society barely mix and they have a rough go in
this Perry Mason episode. Jo Morrow leaves James Drury at the altar
with a lot of questions and Drury who is a jazz pianist turns to Perry
Mason for answers.
Composer Grant Richards who has a nice sideline in blackmail and who has designs on Morrow in the best Snidely Whiplash tradition, is doing his thing with Morrow because he has incriminating pictures involving her underage sister. When Richards turns up dead, Drury is suspected.
Good thing Perry Mason and the team were on the job which included young Karl Held who was a law student who Raymond Burr had defended in an earlier episode. Held was added on to the show for a while to attract younger viewers, but he was kind of like a fifth wheel and didn't last long.
One really nice treat was Constance Towers who came to films after musicals had run their course gets to sing a couple of nice standards like The Man I Love and The Thrill Is Gone. That's reason enough to watch this Mason episode.
Once again a Perry Mason episode leads the charge in the cultural wars,
warning of the perils of bongo music to our Youth.
This episode features another PM appearance by jazzman Bobby Troup, this time playing a Beatnik character named "Bongo" if you can believe it. He smokes cigarettes too, letting them dangle suggestively from his lips. I wonder what that means? And he calls everybody "baby." Ugh.
Anyway, our heroine, innocent, pure Polly Courtland, played by the luscious Jo Morrow, is beguiled into trying to marry a hipster, one Eddy/Eddie King (James Drury, shortly before his ramrod ride as The Virginian). She wisely dodges him, only to be later entangled in the murder of a degenerate musician, one George Sherwin. What music do we hear in the background as Polly flees the murder scene? Bongo music of course! Do you need it spelled out for you?
The forces of law and order, in the person of Lt. Tragg, arrest Eddie, who then becomes Perry's client. There is some confusion as to who was trying to blackmail Polly's father, a wealthy businessman as always. That should be a warning to you too. You never read about anybody blackmailing poor people.
Perry uses one of his favorite tricks on the prosecution by sending a similar but different young lady to "test the recollection of a witness."
"A typical attempt to throw dust in the prosecution's eyes," thunders Hamilton Burger. But the liberal judge lets it slide. Why does Mason always get away with this?
There are several traps laid bare for our youth to see in this show. French cigarettes. Young ladies with uncovered heads tossing 'bones' with gamblers. Photographs. Fins on automobiles. Walter Burke.
But in the end, the murderer is exactly who you think it should be- someone degraded by years of listening to bongo music. There's no melody to such trash, hence our episode's title. If only we had listened, the Vietnam War and so many other disasters could have been avoided.
We need a president like Perry Mason who would build a wall between decent Americans and bongo music. He'd make the Beatniks pay for it too!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOLIERS*** It's when the bride Polly Courtland, Jo Morrow, freaked
out and charged out of the church where she was to be married to jazz
pianist Eddy King, James Drury, that it became apparent that something
was bothering her. Something so stressful in that it was connected to
both her kid sister Midge, Lorrine Richards, and her pop religious
reformer Tempelton Courtland, Graham Denton. A number of shocking
photos popped up of the 17 year old Midge in a secret envelope that
Polly was handed prior to her aborted wedding ceremony that caused her
to suffer an emotional meltdown. It was Midge who was tricked into
being in a number of compromising positions at a Las Vegas motel casino
that were secretly photographed. It's those photos of Midge that will
destroy Tempelton's life long crusade to put an end to the gambling
establishment in the state in it trying to get laws passed to make
gambling legal. It, the photos, can also very well cause the old man to
suffer a massive heart attack and drop dead as well in showing his
underage daughter Midge rolling dice at the crap tables!
The person who had the incriminating photos and planned to use them music composer George Sherwin,Grant Richards, is later found shot to death in his pad with Polly being spotted running from the scene just prior to him getting it! The fact that Eddy was also there made it seems as if Sherwins' murder was a conspiracy, by Eddy & Polly, to knock him off and cover up the evidence of them doing it. It's later that Perry Mason, Raymond Burr,who was Polly's defense attorney came up with a vital piece of evidence, a spool of audio tape, that was left at the scene,that the police confiscated, by the killer that can not only clear both Polly and Eddy of Sherwin's murder but actually uncover whom his real killer was!
***SPOILERS*** Using the miracle of modern 20th century electronics Perry was able to expose Sherwin's killer without even the use of cross-examination. As the missing tape was played to a hushed courtroom Sherwin's killer broke down and confessed his or her crime. A crime that stemmed from more out of misguided love then anything else! The love that the killer expected but never got from the dead as a doornail George Sherwin.
A couple of days after I watched this episode, the same channel (METV)
ran an episode of Our Miss Brooks that featured the dangers of the
Mambo. There were rumors going around that crazy dancing and music were
the main attraction at the local malt shop, and Miss Brooks went
undercover to investigate. Yep, the "yutes" were flinging themselves
around with wild abandon. (The dancers in the malt shop were amazing,
and obviously professionals, although what they were doing didn't look
like my idea of the Mambo -- more like Jitterbug -- but what the heck.)
The Mambo disease had even spread to the Lady's Auxiliary -- which was raided by the police (on suspicion of Mamboing), and the school principal's wife was arrested.
Them were the days!
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