Reviews & Ratings for
"Perry Mason" The Case of the Perjured Parrot (1958)

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Informal court

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
26 July 2012

Perry Mason moves out of the mean streets of Los Angeles into rural Logan City to defend client Jody Lawrence on a charge of murder. This was a very well constructed Perry Mason episode in which definitely things are not as they seem at first glance.

The victim here was a millionaire who was not beloved at all including by his wife who originally brings Raymond Burr into the case because her husband suspected her daughter of forging checks. That turns out not to be the case,but in the process Burr gains a client in Ms. Lawrence who maybe the victim's bigamist second wife.

The key to the case is a parrot who is nervously talking and mimicking words he might have heard during the course of the murder. Remember however, parrots have to be carefully taught.

The venue where Perry Mason practices his craft is an informal coroner's inquest, presided over informally by Edgar Buchanan. Joseph Kearns plays a rather officious criminologist who sheriff Frank Ferguson brought in to help with investigation. Burr devastates Kearns on the stand.

Many people had many reasons for wanting the victim dead. I think you'll be a bit surprised at who the perpetrator is.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

You'll be dizzy from all the twist in this Perry mystery

Author: kfo9494 from United States
25 April 2013

A couple of things about this episode that is different from the norm. First the crime happens in a small town named Logan City, the hearing is at a coroner's inquest instead of a criminal court setting and a obnoxious parrot is called as a witness- these things make the episode quite different that we see in most Perry episodes. Then you add a rather confusing ending and the whole thing is more bizarre than ever thought.

It begins rather simple enough when a unlikable man named Charles Sabin blows his wife, Stephine, and his daughter in-law, Helen Watkins, off when they are not ready to go on a trip to the cabin. He is so mad that he says he is going by himself. He even accuses Helen of a crime that we later find out is forged checks. An all around poor guy.

Anyway later they find Charles Sabin dead and the parrot is walking around the room saying 'Helen put the gun down'. So you would think that Helen Watkins is the main suspect in this story. But it even gets more complicated.

Later we find out that supposedly Charles Sabin had just gotten married to a younger librarian named Ellen Monteith. (this would make Charles married to two women at one time) It gets bad for Ellen when they find some of her clothing at the cabin plus it was her gun that was the murder weapon. So Perry will be defending Ellen on what could become murder charges after the coroner's inquest.

During the informal inquest, headed by the country actor Edgar Buchanan, we get to hear some confusing testimony that will leave your head spinning from all the twist the writer tried to place. This was a really good mystery that was made too complicated by trying to throw suspicion on everyone in the cast. Only Perry Mason could have comprehended all the twisted testimony and finally saw one situation that would clear his client.

This episode ended is a way that seemed almost to complex until Perry has the court reporter read a person's testimony back to the inquest. Then the ball drops. But there is also one last twist left that will have the viewer discombobulated- but that is something that you will have to see.

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13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:


Author: mhenry-4 from United States
4 April 2008

Sorry Zsenorsock, but Berger does not appear in this episode. See the cast list above. It is one of the more entertaining elements of this that the case goes to trial in in "Logan City", which sure resembles "Sierra City" from other episodes. Perry's opponent real opponent is not the DA (Jason Johnson, above) but the no-nonsense town coroner who is running the inquest -- the lawyer for the prosecution has only a few lines.

There is a wonderful moment where Perry visits the murder scene and Della waits outside. After looking things over Perry comes out to find Della feeding a squirrel. This moment of nature, (presented with a nice filter on the camera lens) lead to some important information that requires a trek into the woods, with the impeccably dressed Perry telling Della, "Stay here, you'll ruin your stockings"....but Della forges ahead with Perry anyway.

A very entertaining episode, with a cast of actors that you'll recognize from elsewhere, but wonder "where have I seen him/her before?". Particularly entertaining if you happen to have bourbon in the house.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Tears Aplenty

Author: Marc Perroquet from United States
25 May 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(As usual, I declare a potential spoiler even when I hope I don't spoil anything. However, in this case, and for Mason fans who may not have seen this episode, this spoiler will definitely give away the guilty party. For that reason, I relegate it to the final paragraph.)

Entertaining in spite of being one of the most melodramatic and convoluted plots in the Perry Mason series. As others have pointed out, this episode mostly takes place outside of LA.

Enter cantankerous Charles Sabin, husband to Stephanie Sabin and stepfather to Helen Watkins. It's clear from the opening scene that Charles is not skilled in the tender art of diplomacy, so it comes as no surprise that he is the script's chosen victim.

Sabin is in a fit over a number of things, including some missing checks. He and the family have plans to leave the next day to go to their fishing cabin in Logan City but Sabin abruptly changes the departure date to RIGHT NOW. Of course, his wife and stepdaughter are not ready which only agitates him more and leads to a bitter argument in which he accuses his stepdaughter, Helen, of stealing money from him by forging checks. This is the final straw for Stephanie who decides to get a divorce. Once Sabin has stormed out of the house, she drives Helen to school, which she later says is not far from Logan City. She then drives back to L.A., but instead of going home, she rents a room at a hotel. A few days later she receives the news that her husband has been murdered--found dead on the floor of his cabin. Probably more disturbing is the news that Casanova, Sabin's beloved parrot, was patrolling the body and repeating a cute new phrase he had learned, namely: "Helen, give me the gun, don't shoot."

Needless to say, for Helen and Stephanie, Casanova's verbal accomplishment falls on less than appreciative ears. So... fast forward two or three seconds and we find mother and daughter sitting in Perry Mason's office. Stephanie Sabin is worried about more than Casanova's words, or the fact that her daughter's hatred for her stepfather is common knowledge, or even that Sabin had accused Helen in front of a witness, of forging checks. While that would be enough to get most of us arrested, if not executed, Stephanie wrings her tear-soaked hanky and proceeds to finish sealing Helen's coffin by piling on yet another reason why her daughter could be a murder suspect. If you are attentive during this tale of woe, you will notice some unanswered questions. But alas, we don't care about unanswered questions because they sink slowly (and I do mean slowly) into a lake of lachrymose melodrama.

When the tear fest finally ends, Perry and Della set off for Logan City to visit the cabin where Sabin's body was found. Upon arriving, they meet the sheriff who introduces them to Edward Langley, a man who teaches criminology at their local college. Langley is there to lend his academic, albeit highly methodological, expertise in gathering and interpreting evidence. (The character of Langley is played to pompous perfection by actor Joseph Kearns.)

Another wonderful actor is Edgar Buchanan who plays the no-nonsense coroner presiding over the coroner's inquest which, in this episode, substitutes for the usual courtroom preliminary hearing. During the inquest the criminologist humorously details the events seriatim concluding, of course, that the killer could be none other than Mason's client. By the way, if you think Helen is Mason's client, you're wrong. It seems that the parrot might have been saying Ellen instead of Helen, which leads us to Sabin's wife - - Not Stephanie, not that wife: The other one. I'm sorry, didn't I mention his other wife?

Let's face it, you'll just have to watch for yourself. By the time it's over, you will feel like you sat through a Tom Lehrer lecture on "New Math."

SPOILER ALERT, SPOILER ALERT: Most Perry Mason fans can't help but notice that the hidden revelation of guilt in this episode is almost a mirror image of the one used in "The Case of the Angry Mourner." The similarity was so obvious, I checked to see if the episodes were written by the same person. Not quite. As it turns out, "The Case of the Angry Mourner" was written by Francis M. Cockrell and aired in 1957. "The Case of the Perjured Parrot" was written by his wife Marian Cockrell and aired in 1958.

Trivia: Both Jody Lawrance (Ellen) and actor Joseph Kearns died at age 55.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Polly Wants a Plea Deal

Author: zsenorsock from Argentina
16 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

All you have to know about this episode is that the key witness in the case is a parrot, voiced by voice artist Mel Blanc. The outrageous scene of Perry Mason bringing the parrot into a court of law and then using it to find the real murderer (above all Berger's objections) is something any Mason fan should NOT miss. It sounds like something the Lucy or Jack Benny Show (where Blanc was a semi-regular) might do in parodying the Mason show. The fact that the show producers had the guts to go with an idea that is so comical in conception (and frankly quite a bit in practice) is amazing. Remarkably enough, they actually pull it off.

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Loved It

Author: darbski from omaha, ne
15 June 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

**SPOILERS** The best summary title I saw in a long time was Zensorsock's "Polly Wants a Plea Deal" great thought, and words. Maurice Manson plays two roles in this one and I was surprised to actually see him smile; he plays almost the same character in "The Dead Ringer", and is totally unlikable in both roles. That's what character actors are for. Della was beautiful, as usual, and the scene with her feeding a squirrel, and then chiding Perry when he frightened it off was great. This is one story in which Edgar Buchanan didn't irritate me - ever since his snarky, cowardly, insult to Alan Ladd in "Shane", well, anyway ....

This episode actually HAS a "naughty librarian", the client; ya gotta love her. I have a problem with every episode in which someone gives or lends a gun to someone else for "protection" with no training, and no permit; anyway you cut it, it's bad news.

There was plenty of wry humor in this show; of course Mel Blanc's parrot was amusing, even IF the parrot never opened it's mouth when it was supposed to be speaking. One high point in this episode was Perry disassembling the "expert Witness" about ALL of his assumptions. Normally, that's called an alternate version of the crime, and casts heavy doubt on the prosecution's case. I don't think they ever did fingerprints on the gun, but in an earlier episode, Lt Tragg said that it very hard to get usable prints off a gun. (I like Tragg). This was a very good episode and well deserving of the "10"that I gave it.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: pensman from United States
9 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An episode with familiar faces—Edgar Buchanan (Green Acres, Petticoat Junction), Frank Ferguson (Peyton Place, Petticoat Junction), Joseph Kearns ( Dennis the Menace)—and a parrot called as a "witness." More of a humorous Perry Mason vs the rubes but still serious as there is a murder to solve. And while it is a fun episode you may find yourself shaking your head at all the twists. It's a good thing that at the conclusion Perry answers the questions of a rather perplexed local coroner Andy Templet (Buchanan) to tie together all the loose ends. Of course the real fun is watching Perry's cross examination of the parrot as that really gets the ball rolling to drop on the guilty party.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

I'll have a Martini!

Author: sol1218 from brooklyn NY
30 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

**SPOILERS*** Hysterically funny Perry Mason episode with Perry ,Raymond Burr,dueling in court with this annoying parrot named Cassanova who seems to have been an eye witness in a murder that his client Logan City librarian Ellen Monteith, Jody Lawrance, has been indited for. With Charles Sabin, Maurice Mason, found dead in his country cabin his pet parrot Cassanove was heard saying over and over again: "Ellen give me the gun don't shoot!" It fact it was first thought that Cassanove was accusing Sabin's step daughter that he suspected of forging checks in his name Helen Walker, Pamala Branch, until it was discovered that Ellen, the librarian Ellen , with her clothes and a library book found at the murder scenes who very likely did the guy in!

Things get even more complicated when it's discovered that Ellen, the librarian ,was in fact secretly married to Sabin whom she knew as George Wallman a sweet loving and caring kind of fellow who was the complete opposite of the nasty and vindictive Charles Sabin: Was Sabin in fact a Doctor Jkeyll and Mister hide type of guy? And to make things even more ridicules the parrot Cassanova who eye witnessed Sabin's murder and lived to tell about it turns out to be an impostor! In him, Cassanova the parrot, being replaced by an identical parrot and taught what to say,or had put words in his mouth, that Ellen killed him by the person who actually murdered Charles Sabin!

***SPOILERS*** As usual Perry Mason gets to the bottom of this baffling murder case by exposing the real killer of Charles Sabin in testimony that he unknowingly gave at the trial that implicated him in Sabin's murder. But we the audience as well as those at the trial never get to know just why he did it! Unlike in almost every Perry Mason episode this guy never had a chance to be cross-examined by Perry by him checking out of the courtroom and possibly taking a plane to South America before anybody ever noticed that he was even gone! And what was even worse then all that is Perry letting him get away in a half baked way of proving that he did in fact murder Sabin by not informing the judge that he was the prime suspect in Sabin's murder!

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