Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Careless Kidnapper 

Gregory Pelham, a doctor and professor, comes home to learn his son has been kidnapped and his wife accidentally killed a boy involved. Gregory tries to cover for his wife as he is also trying to cover another problem - blackmail.


Jesse Hibbs


Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by), Robb White

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond Burr ... Perry Mason
Barbara Hale ... Della Street
William Hopper ... Paul Drake
William Talman ... Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins ... Police Lt. Arthur Tragg (credit only)
Wesley Lau ... Police Lt. Andy Anderson
Tom Lowell ... David Pelham (as Thomas Lowell)
Marilyn Erskine ... Susan Pelham
Burt Metcalfe Burt Metcalfe ... John Lathrop
Mimsy Farmer ... Sande Lukins
Mark Slade ... Michael Da Vinci
Peter Hobbs ... Gregory Pelham
Regina Gleason ... Mary Manning
Tudor Owen ... Capt. Horatio Jones
Ron Gans Ron Gans ... Joe Velvet (as Ron Kennedy)


Perry Mason defends his friend and client Gregory Pelham against a murder charge. It all started when his son David saw him and David's mother Susan having a serious argument. A dejected David goes off and gets drunk with his friend Michael Da Vinci who has his own problems with his alcoholic mother, famed actress Mary Manning. Michael decides to teach David's parents a lesson by sending a ransom note, pretending their son has been kidnapped. When Susan Pelham goes to deliver the ransom, she and Michael have an altercation and he falls from a great height. She flees thinking she has killed him but when her husband goes to investigate, he finds another man dead and no sign of Michael. The dead man is identified as Joe Velvet and he was in fact blackmailing Gregory Pelham. D.A. Hamilton Burger thinks he has an open and shut case but Perry demonstrates that there's far more to the story than has been told. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

30 April 1964 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode's bump is unique in that Perry asks Della out for an evening of nightclubbing, champagne and dancing-the only time in the 9 year run! See more »


Perry claims that a microscope was used as a spyglass, to magnify the image of an object on the other side of a large room. Microscopes have a very short focal range and cannot be used this way. See more »


[first lines]
First Girl: David Pelham is a scientific phenomenon... real boss. Blink your eyes and the square becomes a circle.
See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting characters
29 October 2011 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

As a 'Perry Mason' fan, when I watch an episode one of the things I look for is if I am interested in the characters in the show. Even if some of the circumstances are poorly written or poorly performed by the actors, I want to feel apart of the show. In this episode we have some situations that are not believable, however I found myself interested in the outcome.

The show begins with David Pelham (Tom Lowell) with friends, one friend named Michael Da Vinci (Mark Shade), to see his parents .David's father, Gregory Pelham (Peter Hobbs), and his mother, Susan Pelham (Marilyn Erskine), are in a terrible argument and do not even notice the kids outside the house.

Later David and his friend, Michael, end up getting very drunk (I would have checked the ID's) and end up on a old rusty cargo ship in a vacant harbor. Michael gets this wild idea that he will sent a kidnap note to David's father so that he will appreciated the fact that he has a son. The note is seen by the mother who takes it upon herself to go out to a vacant harbor, in the middle of the night, and board an old rusty ship to find her son.

While on the ship she gets into a scuffle and someone falls over a rusty rail to the boardwalk below. She believes she has killed the person and runs home to tell her husband.

Now from watching Perry we all know this is a good time to lawyer-up and call the police. Instead the father runs out to the ship and pushes the body into the water. And tells his wife to lie to everyone including Perry. Only problem is a crusty old ship captain happens to be looking through his binoculars and sees the body pushed into the water and the father Gregory, is charged with murder.

From then on we are introduced to more characters and end up in a long court scene to tie all the loose string together. One of the people we meet is John Lathrop (Burt Metcalfe producer from MASH).

Yes there is some silly writing that is not believable. Here are some- A housewife, by herself, goes to a vacant harbor and boards an old cargo ship.

A person falls off a freighter type ship that looks more like a fall from a houseboat.

A old man just happened to be looking through his binoculars, at night, and can identify who he saw but never heard the scuffle that happened earlier.

A very odd production in court where a person reads an item though a reflected image.

And a confession that the person should have just kept quiet because no one would have ever known.

Now with all that said, I cared and was interested in the characters. The family was interesting and the sub-plot, involving Michael, was something one cares about in a young man's life.

The episode is dated since it involves kids in the early 60's with their music, dance and means of expression but it was watchable. A middle of the road show for Perry.

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