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The closing credits state that this episode was based on the story “The Man with Half a Face” by Hugh Penetcost (a pen name for Judson Philips). The story appeared in the December 1958 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Are there other Perry episodes based on previous writings by other authors? Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 5/5/2009.
This is a very brave episode, handling controversy and rather grown-up topics (teacher-student affairs, sexuality, underage drinking, corruption, vigilantism) rather deftly. Furthermore, Perry Mason shows himself not only a true gentleman but a fine moral example, such as when he scolds the doctor for his wishy-washy statements to the board. Submitted by gracep, 15 January 2011.
This episode is shocking in another way. At my high school, if any student had spoken to any of my teachers the way those boys spoke to Mrs. Wardman, he would have been suspended and probably expelled, never mind any lurid letters. Could kids in the 1960s get away with more? Submitted by gracenote, 7/23/2011.
He wasn't a delinquent like Pat Mangan, but there was a guy at my high school, in the early 1970's, who was, shall we say, "very worldly" and a bit of a discipline problem. But he was still his mother's "baby boy" and she made trouble with the school. Once she almost got a teacher fired over something completely innocent. Talk about rose colored glasses! OLEF641, 3/14/2018.
This was an excruciating episode for me. I do not remember any students back in my HS days getting away with such horrific behaviour--but it was painfully similar to my experiences 6 years ago, in my brief tenure as a HS Latin teacher. Despite my age (50's), I was subjected to sexual harassment, molestation, and threats of violence from the boys in my classes. Any time I reported their behavior, I was told it was my fault for "poor classroom management." If I disciplined them, the parents attacked me. This was a public school in a wealthy suburban county whose principal cared only about pleasing the parents. Two best situations: If the boy was African, I'd call his parents and he'd never give me any trouble again. Or, if he was an athlete, I'd call his coach, and, boom, done! I quit. This episode brought it all back! Submitted by JazzBaby, 3/25/2019.
TCOT (Not So) Juvenile Delinquent: John Durren, who played Pat Mangan, was 24 when this episode was filmed, and - more to the point - he looked like he was 24, which tends to dilute the shock value of the episode. (Of course one could argue he had been held back a number of times - at least six of them, to be exact - but then he would no longer be "underage".) Submitted by Notcom, 021016.
+Mrs. Wardman pointedly remarks that Mangan is hardly a boy, being old enough to be a soldier; how old would that have been in 1962?
+ Eighteen was the lowest age of enlistment, although i know one man who told me that he was a juvenile delinquent in the mid 1960s and his mother applied for and got a special dispensation from Senator Alan Cranston (of California) for him to volunteer for the Army at the age of seventeen rather than face criminal charges, but he was only sent into combat in Vietnam when he turned eighteen, i think. Just hearsay, but those were the days, eh? Submitted by catron, 04/26/18
++In addition, early in the episode, Mrs. Wardman asked why none of the students completed their assignnment, and one student replied that she should ask someone "older" like Pat Mangan.
+ I found Mangan's age a problem, too. How many times can a student be held back?!? He shouldn't have been in school with underage girls, in my opinion! Maybe they should have cast a more-age appropriate actor, say 19 or so. Submitted by JazzBaby, 3/25/2019.
Vote Of Confidence After Pat Mangan attacks Paul on the Mangan front porch, Perry sarcastically calls Pat a "nice boy". Paul retorts, "Boy? You should feel the arms on that moose!", to which Perry replies, "You can take him." Great line! jfh 03Dec2018.
It's hard (for me, anyway) to say who is the lowest person in this episode ... but I'll put in a vote for the judge. You would think he'd insist on some real proof of the accusations, as well as knowing what undisciplined creeps the 'boys' are. But no, he just tells Jane to give up and move on...it was a pleasure to see Paul humiliate the biggest creep!! Submitted by MikeReese, 3/13/2018.
+ Agreed. Everyone in this episode--except Mrs. Wardman and son--were creepy and mean. I don't know why she would want to stay in that town. But the Judge was up there at the top too for being a jerk. (I thought the Principal was the nicest person...) --yelocab 25APR19