Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Lame Canary 

Walter Prescott tries to extort all his wife Ruth's money to give her a divorce. As she leaves, a truck almost runs her down, instead crashing into a car and injuring the passenger. Ruth runs to a friend but returns to find Walter dead.



(novel), (teleplay)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Della Street
Paul Drake
Lt. Tragg
James Philbrook ...
Harry Jonson
Jimmy McLain
Margaret Swaine
William Kendis ...
Ernest Wray
Dr. Hoxie
Dr. Fowler
Chet Stratton ...
Hotel Clerk


After Ruth Prescott's husband Walter refuses to give her the divorce she's asked for, she runs out of the house and is nearly run over by a furniture delivery truck that rams a parked car severely injuring the occupant. Ruth is convinced that her husband tried to have her killed to get his hands on what is left of her inheritance. She calls Jimmy McLain who she is in love with who tells her to come to his apartment. When she arrives, Jimmy is gone but his gun holster is there - empty. She returns home to destroy love letters from Jimmy McLain but finds her husband dead on the floor and a gun lying on the carpet beside him. While burning the love letters, Walter's secretary Margaret Swaine walks in and leaves after seeing the body. Ruth takes the gun and a toppled bird cage with an injured canary. She consults Perry Mason who puts Paul Drake on the case to track down the people involved. Paul finds the the car that was struck has been found with the driver dead. Ruth is charged with ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery






Release Date:

27 June 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This appears to be the only acting credit for Ray Phillips who played the motorcycle cop. See more »


Upon discovering the embezzled furs, Lt. Tragg tells Sgt. Brice, "Get Robbery Detail." This fur theft, like most others, occurred without the threat of violence, so Tragg should have referred the matter to a detail that handled property crimes. See more »


[first lines]
Ruth Prescott: Walter, please listen to me.
Ruth Prescott: I'm all ears.
Ruth Prescott: I've tried to make a go of our marriage. It just hasn't worked.
Walter Prescott: I'm not complaining, Ruth.
Ruth Prescott: It's been more than two years. A long time to pay for a mistake. I want a divorce.
See more »

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User Reviews

Only in Hollywood....
24 June 2015 | by See all my reviews

Neat twists and turns mark this episode as one of the better series offerings. The one glaring flight of Hollywood make-believe was immediately apparent to this mechanic, though. (As its departure from fact has no bearing on the storyline, I don't consider it a spoiler - just an amusing goof!) When Mason and Drake are interviewing the truck driver whose vehicle crashed into a parked car early in the episode, the driver claims his air brakes failed because of a hose that appeared to have been cut with a knife blade. He also stated he was able to drive the vehicle despite the broken hose, by using the hand brake.

As any auto mechanic can tell you, - unlike hydraulic brakes which are off unless the brake pedal is applied - air brakes work on the dead-man principle for safety of the general public. An air compressor powered by the engine has to build up enough air pressure to RELEASE the brakes before a vehicle equipped as such can move. (This explains that loud HISSSSS one hears when a tractor-trailer rig is ready to move out.) Pressing the brake pedal opens a dump valve, lowering air pressure and letting the brakes engage.

A cut brake hose in such a system would never allow the pressure to reach the brake-release point, rendering the vehicle virtually impossible to drive without extensive brake damage and strain on the engine and transmission, too. I kept waiting for Drake to catch the driver in this tall tale, but not to be.

Once the story begins to come together, it moves quickly. Don't go to the fridge for that cold drink, until the show's over!

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