Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Decadent Dean 

Dr. Aaron Stuart runs a prep school but, lately, he is running into a string of problems at the school that endanger its future. Eventually, he finds that his friend, Tobin Wade, is the cause. Stuart is accused of killing Wade - twice.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Perry Mason
Della Street
Paul Drake
Hamilton Burger
Lt. Tragg (credit only)
Lt. Andy Anderson
Harvey Forrest
Chuck Emmett
Sheriff Ward Vincent
Blair Davies ...
John Marshall Baxter
Lauren Gilbert ...
Mr. Ryan


Dr. Aaron Stuart, headmaster of a private school, has been hoping to receive an endowment, but has been frustrated by repeated problems, such as complaints from students' parents, missing materials, employees not being paid, and top students failing tests because they never received the necessary materials. He learns that his assistant dean, Tobin Wade, has been responsible for the sabotage. Stuart also learns Wade came to his house, got his wife to start drinking again, after a year of sobriety, and drove her out to a resort. Stuart confronts Wade by a cliff at the resort and, in a struggle, Wade falls over into the ocean. Stuart goes to the police and signs a confession to manslaughter. But Perry challenges the confession at the preliminary hearing on the grounds that there is no body and no proof that Wade was killed. Then, after one of his teachers calls him and tells him she saw Wade alive, Stuart is arrested for murder, standing over Wade's body. Written by rbecker28

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

24 October 1963 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The killer's confession begins at 45:25 and ends at 48:32, for a total length of 3'07''. This is the lengthiest confession in series history. See more »


[first lines]
Tobin Wade: [after setting off an alarm] Let's get out of here! Fast!
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User Reviews

Perry demands 'corpus delicti' - he will soon have it
16 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

In this episode we get a good introduction into courtroom proceedings when Perry gets a case dismissed when the prosecution cannot prove 'corpus delicti' or the fact that a crime had actually been committed. But it will not be long until Perry will be back in the courtroom trying to get his client cleared for the second time in the show.

Dr Aaron Stuart runs a prep school that seems to be having trouble meeting most of their bills. And with a company wanting to buy the land where the school is located people are beginning to talk about selling the school. Dr Stuart finds out that Assistant Dean, Tobie Wade, has been sabotaging the school but the reason is unclear. Dr Stuart confronts Tobie Wade near an ocean cliff and gets into a scuffle. Tobie Wade gets pushed off the cliff and falls into the ocean. Dr Stuart goes to the police station to confess to the homicide.

Even though Dr Stuart confessed, Perry is able to have the charges dismissed when the State cannot provide the 'corpus delicti'. So Dr Stuart is freed even when he still believes he killed Tobie Wade.

Later Dr Stuart receives a call from a teacher advising she had seen Tobie Wade alive in a rural cabin. Dr Stuart goes to the cabin and there the police now have their 'corpus delicti'. Dr Stuart is standing over the dead body of Toby Wade murdered with Stuart's tire iron.

Perry again is masterful as he defends Dr Stuart in court. Through testimony and video presentation, Perry works his magic as he combs the testimony to reveal the true murderer.

Not only does this episode provide the viewer with a good mystery- the script makes the show interesting and suspenseful. A very good episode.

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