Perry Mason: Season 1, Episode 17

The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary (11 Jan. 1958)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 118 users  
Reviews: 4 user

A gorgeous woman's trailer was stolen while she was sunbathing, so she asks for Perry's help in finding it. She claims it contains her diary, which details the truthful account of a notorious bank heist her father was convicted for.



(based on the novel by), (teleplay)
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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Susan Morrow ...
Arlene Dowling
Carl Betz ...
Dr. Ralph Chandler
Gertrude Michael ...
Helen Rucker - Nurse
Peter Leeds ...
Bill Emory
Ralph Moody ...
George L. Ballard
Connie Cezon ...
Gertie Lade (credit only)
Kenneth MacDonald ...
Tom Sackett
Walter Reed ...
Detective Myers
Nesdon Booth ...
Mr. Hartsel


Perry Mason is approached by a beautiful woman, Arlene Dowling, who wants him to recover a house trailer that was recently stolen. It's an odd case from the beginning and when the trailer is quickly located, she's prepared to buy it off the vendor rather than just take possession. When Perry learns that Arlene's father is in prison having been convicted in the Mercantile Bank theft, he thinks there's far more going on than meets the eye. After Perry receives $1500 in the mail, he's pretty sure he's being set up. A meeting with Arlene's friend George L. Ballard confirms Perry's suspicions. DA Hamilton Burger soon has Perry in the Grand Jury room and when Perry's testimony contradicts that of a police detective, Burger charges him with perjury. Meanwhile, Arlene's dad's work partner Ballard is murdered and she is charged. Perry agrees to defend her but in a strange turn of events, is also called as a witness for the prosecution. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

courtroom spectator | See All (1) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

11 January 1958 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Perry and Della are sitting at a restaurant booth, Perry has his left arm on the top of the booth behind Della as he begins to ask the waitress (Amy) for the menu. As the view changes and Perry completes saying "Amy" his arm is suddenly on the table. See more »


[last lines]
Perry Mason: [At a restaurant, Burger has had to admit that he was wrong accusing Mason of perjury] The least I can do is buy you lunch.
Hamilton Burger: Oh, alright.
Perry Mason: Amy, one order of crow. He'll eat it here.
See more »

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User Reviews

Mason Gets Testy
8 October 2008 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

A sentimental favorite. It's a good episode with several unusual features. Arlene Dowling (Susan Morrow) grabs the guys right at the beginning since she's obviously sunbathing topless and maybe even in the nude. Needless to say, such exposure was not only unusual for the series, but for 50's TV generally. Then too, Mason's testier than usual, threatening to throw Arlene to "the wolves" if she's misleading him, and even demanding his hefty retainer up front-- not his customarily courteous demeanor. Also, he gets accused of murder and put on the witness stand, where he and Burger engage in some choice back-and-forth. Then too, the mystery is more coherent than usual and features excellent spot performances from Peter Leeds as a pool shark and Ralph Moody as a kindly old man (instead of his usual grouch). Though not exceptional, this is the kind of solid entry that helped attract a popular following for the next nine years.

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