Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Irate Inventor 

Inventor James Frazer thinks his wife Thelma is having an affair, so he leaves for three months to work on his anti-collision device. James returns home to find his locked workshop in flames and Thelma dead inside of a gunshot.


Gerald Mayer


Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by), Marianne Mosner | 1 more credit »

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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 ... Lt. Tragg
Thomas Coley Thomas Coley ... James Frazer (as Tom Coley)
Kasey Rogers ... Lois Langley
Ken Lynch ... Robert Hayden
Manning Ross Manning Ross ... Calvin Boone
Cece Whitney Cece Whitney ... Thelma Frazer (as Ce Ce Whitney)
Douglas Odney Douglas Odney ... Arthur Hayden (as Doug Odney)
Barry Cahill Barry Cahill ... Sgt. M. Quimby
Kenneth MacDonald ... Judge (as Kenneth R. MacDonald)
Gertrude Flynn Gertrude Flynn ... Mrs. Nicholas
Arthur Peterson ... Sorrell


After inventor James Frazer tells his wife Thelma who is visiting his lab he knows she is cheating, he disappears for nearly three months. Thelma asks her friend Lois Langley to join her on a day out but first stops at her husband's business to visit some co-workers which Lois notices through the windows. James' business partners, Robert and Arthur Hayden, decide to exercise a buyout clause in their business agreement so Thelma Frazer, who has had no contact with her husband, consults Perry Mason. As it happens, James returns only to find his workshop ablaze and Thelma's dead body inside. He's charged with murder and Perry takes on his defense. James was working on an aircraft anti-collision device and had gone away so as to complete his work. It had also become obvious to him that someone had access to his workshop and suspected that someone was stealing his ideas. Not surprisingly Thelma's lover, Calvin Boone, had also produced an anti-collision device that is virtually identical to... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery








Release Date:

28 May 1960 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


During the initial courtroom scene at about 33:26 Della is wearing one outfit with a broach on her left shoulder. At about 34:50 during the same courtroom scene she's shown wearing a completely different outfit, no broach. Her hair also appears straighter/less curly than it was with the first outfit. Later, at about 35:16 (again same courtroom scene), she's back in the original dress shown at the beginning of the scene with the broach on the left shoulder & the curlier hair comes back. See more »


[first lines]
Thelma Frazer: You're home early.
Thelma Frazer: Where are you going?
James Frazer: Where have you been all afternoon, Thelma?
Thelma Frazer: I had lunch with Lois. I told you.
James Frazer: You didn't have lunch with her.
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User Reviews

Perry at the top of his game in this episode.
8 June 2012 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

This show turns out to be a very interesting episode of 'Perry Mason'. Not so much for the crime but more in the line of watching Perry manipulate a written contract. To me, that was the most interesting part of the entire episode.

The story centers around Jim Frazer an inventor and part owner of the Hayden Electric Company. He has been working on an anti-collision device for a period of time but is not perfected. Jim's wife, Thelma Frazer, has been seeing another man behind his back and Jim decides to separate for a period of time so he can work on his invention without distractions. So he moves out of the house.

Since Jim has been away from work for so long the other owners of the company, Robert and Arthur Hayden, use a formula in the contact that states they can buy out Jim's shares if he does not return before 5pm the next date.

Jim gets a call from Lois Langley, a friend of Thelma's, to return to town. When Jim returns he finds his private workshop ablaze and Thelma amid the flames. With the evidence learned from the scene, Jim is soon placed in jail and charged with the murder of his wife.

Perry now leads us through trying to save Jim's shares of the company and also defend him in court against the murder charge. With Paul and Della's help, Perry leads the viewer through a host of lies and cover-ups to find the true murderer.

The episode is one that keeps the viewer alert as we see what Perry's action will be in order to keep his client free plus retaining partnership in the company. This one is very interesting which is always a good show. Good Watch

Note- William Talman is in this episode. Since he was still fired at the time, this episode had to be filmed before his run-in with the law.

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