#162: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 11/29/62
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (Revised)
This is the episode where Della asks Perry how far he would go for a friend and then asks for $25,000. Della needs the money for her friend Janet Brent, who is being blackmailed. Edward Franklin, an employee of Janet’s husband, has staged compromising photos of her in a motel.
At a party, Janet confronts Franklin and hits him with a small statue of a “weary watchdog.” The police arrest Della when they find her driving Janet’s car from the scene of the argument.
Franklin is dead, struck three times on the head with the statue. Janet claims she only hit him once and Perry believes her.
Perry takes the case knowing that if he loses, Della will go to prison as an accessory.
N.B. Spoiler removed. To view, click above link for original summary.
Starring Raymond Burr
in The Case of THE WEARY WATCHDOG
Based upon Characters Created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins
Directed by Jesse Hibbs
Written by Samuel Newman
Art Seid | Producer
Gail Patrick Jackson | Executive Producer
Jackson Gillis | Associate Producer
Samuel Newman | Story Consultant
Raymond Burr as Perry Mason
Barbara Hale as Della Street
William Hopper as Paul Drake
Wiliam Talman as Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg
Wesley Lau as Lt. Anderson
Mala Powers as Janet Brent
Doris Dowling as Zaneta Holmes
John Dall as Edward Franklin
Keye Luke as C. C. Chang
Wesley Addy as Alton Brent
Judy Dan as Trixie Tong
James Hong as Dean Chang
Kenneth Tobey as Asst. District Attorney Alvin
Philip Ahn as James Wong
Willis Bouchey as Second Judge
Robert S. Carson as Commodore Holmes
Beulah Quo as Mrs. Tong
Seamon Glass as Policeman
Tom Harkness as First Judge
Bert Stevens as Charity Party Guest #1
Don Anderson as Charity Party Guest #2
Lee Miller as Sgt. Brice
Robert Wegner as Bailiff (spotted by Rich Erickson, 6/23/2010)
Sam Harris as Juror
Director of Photography … Robert G. Hager
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Gordon A. Webb
Film Editor … John D. Faure
Casting … Harvey Clermont
Makeup … Irving Pringle
Hair Stylist … Annabell
Wardrobe Supervision … Ed McDermott, Evelyn Carruth
Set Decoration … Charles Q. Vassar
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … Cosmo Genovese
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner
Produced by the CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions
“During the last act, Mason quotes a rule of law from Flynn vs Croates. I think this was a real case.” Submitted by Bill Sullivan, 1/22/2006.
+ Indeed it was! A quick visit to Westlaw and a $14 search finds: Court of Civil Appeals of Texas, San Antonio, Flinn v. Krotz, March 30, 1927. This case does apply to Perry’s situation as amicus curiae. Perry’s citation, “293 South Western Reporter 625,” is also correct. Submitted by daveb 11/26/2007.
The Curious Coffee Set makes another appearance as Della and her friend Janet wait in Perry’s office. Submitted by gracep, 1/19/2011.
+ I'm disappointed to realize that this scene was deleted from the MeTV airing 13Dec2019, leaving only two quick glimpses of two cups from the set (and some funky coffee carafe on a stand) barely visible over Cee Cee's right shoulder during his consultation with Perry and Paul, and a view of the table set with the two cups as Cee Cee and his son leave. jfh 13Dec2019.
Uncredited Actors: Two familiar faces, Bert Stevens and Don Anderson (mostly with back turned), appear as charity party guests, but neither makes it to the courthouse. Robert Wegner, however, is a bailiff guarding the door in the elder Chang’s trial, and he comes quite close to the camera near the end. Earlier, at Anderson’s side during Mrs. Brent’s arrest is the strong, silent Lee Miller as Sgt. Brice. Submitted by gracenote, 1/19/2011 & updated 7/23/2011.
+ A juror at Ms. Brent’s trial is none other than the late Sam Harris, who, like Bess Flowers, has been in five Best Oscar pictures. We don’t have him on our Uncredited Actors page, yet. Submitted by gracenote, 7/23/2011.
Sightings: Seated right next to Lt. Anderson at Janet Brent’s trial is our beloved Little Old Lady #1. Down the hall at the other trial sits a keenly interested Pencil Mustache Man, who looks very pensive as Perry leaves the courtroom. Submitted by gracenote, 1/19/2011 & updated 7/23/2011.
Character Names: The elder Chang’s given name, spelled “C.C.” in the credits, is spelled “Cee Cee” on the menu of his restaurant (and in the closed captions of the syndication print). Submitted by gracep, 1/19/2011.
Kung Fu Connections:
+ Keye Luke, of course, is perhaps better known to baby boomers and Gen-X-ers as Master Po in the 1970s Kung Fu and to classic film buffs as Number One Son (or Lee Chan) in some of the Charlie Chan movies. Submitted by gracep, 1/19/2011.
+ Philip Ahn (James Wong) also was a regular on Kung Fu, in which he played Master Kan. Although actually Korean, in most of his 200 Hollywood roles he played Chinese. Submitted by cgraul, 12/14/2011.
+ James Hong played various characters in 9 episodes of Kung Fu. He also played Evelyn's butler in the film "Chinatown" (1974) and the evil David Lo Pan in "Big Trouble in Little China" (1986). Submitted by catyron, 04/25/18
+ Beulah Quo appeared in 3 episodes of Kung Fu. Submitted by catyron, 04/25/18.
+ This is the only PM appearance for Beulah Quo, who had a Bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a Master's degree from the University of Chicago ... MikeM. 2/20/2017
Judy Dan was Miss Hong Kong 1952. Submitted by gracep, 1/19/2011.
+ This is the only PM appearance for Judy Dan, who was third runner-up in the 1952 Miss Universe Contest ... MikeM. 11/14/2016
++ And she did NOT appear in Kung Fu. -- catyron, 04/25/18
Live Long and Prosper James Hong is currently (2022) not only alive, but listed as still performing (mostly voicework it eppears)...a career spanning almost seven decades, and certainly one of only a small number of PM alums still active professionally.(My sub head ?? It isn't Chinese either !!) Notcom 052622.
Lt. Tragg did not appear in this episode even though Ray Collins was credited with the part. Submitted by gracep, 1/20/2011.
CARS. All except Cars (1a) & (3) are at the drive-in restaurant on "Vista Haven Road".
- (1) Janet Brent's medium-color 1960 Buick LeSabre Convertible at the drive-in with top down. Della drives it later with top up. It is a '60 LeSabre when she's stopped and gotten out,
- (1a) BUT, it was a 1959 Buick Invicta Convertible in the moving shot just a second earlier!
- (2) 1962 Buick Electra 225 4-Door HardTop, medium color w/ light roof, Licence Number XEP 264. By the story, the driver is probably smarmy Edward Franklin.
- (3) 1961 Ford Galaxie 4-Door Sedan B&W, SHERIFF pursues Car(1a), pulls-over Car(1). This isn't the first time they've pulled the old 59/60-Buick Switcheroo: see Cars (2)&(3) at Ep#87!
Background Cars. (a) unknown white convertible (top up), backdrop to Della sitting in Car(1).
- (b) 1959 Thunderbird HardTop, backdrop to Janet in driver's seat of Car(1). Year ID'd by the distinctive '59 TBird emblem on its C-pillar.
- (c) medium-color 1960 Chevrolet Biscayne 4-Door Sedan w/tray on passenger side.
There is no "Automobiles Supplied by …" closing credit. Added by Gary Woloski, 6/27/13.
Della testifies in this episode, as she did only two episodes earlier. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 11/5/2013.
+ This was Della's fifth appearance on the witness stand. (see episodes 8,30,63,160). She would be called to testify two more times in episodes 172 and 187. Submitted by H. Mason 9/25/14
Della's Impersonation: Della drives Janet Brent's car and was mistaken for Mrs. Brent when she was stopped by the police. Submitted by H. Mason 12/29/14
Della looks amazing, Janet is gorgeous, and Trixie is stunning! Several beauties in this episode! resubmitted by DyNama 9/30/2015
+ Including the gorgeous Perry himself and the always good-looking Paul. jfh 13Dec2019
Della at Police HQ: Lt. Anderson's office was seen for the second time (episode 158). Lt. Anderson mentioned Della owned a car that was in a repair shop. That was the first time there was any mention of her owning a vehicle. Miss Street didn't seem to get arrested this time. She was arrested in episode 12 (TCOT Negligent Nymph) but the charges were dropped. Submitted by H. Mason 12/29/14
Perry's client on the stand: For the second time Mr. Mason put his client on the witness stand. It also happened in episode 150 (TCOT Counterfeit Crank). Mr. Burger was not shown questioning her. Submitted by H. Mason 12/29/14
Mr. Alvin: Actor Kenneth Tobey appeared as Deputy District Attorney Jack Alvin for the third and final time. He was the the same character in episodes 98 and 102. Submitted by H. Mason 12/29/14
Fu Shi: The statuette is not a watchdog. Its name in the west is generally given as Fu (or Foo) Dog, but it is actually a male Fortunate Lion or Fu Shi. In Buddhist cultures, it is called a Buddha Lion or Fo Shi. If carved in stone, it would be called a Shi Shi ("Stone Lion"), but it is bronze, so it is a Tong Shi ("Bronze Lion"). Specifically, it is the male of a mated pair of Fu Shi. The male holds a cloth ball beneath one front foot. The female holds a cub beneath one foot. The Western name "Dog" probably arose due to confusion over the Chow Chow breed of dog, which in China is called Song Shi ("Puffy Lion"), the Pekinese breed, which is called in Chinese Shi Zi Ghou ("Lion Dog"), or the Shih Tzu breed of dog, whose name also means "Lion Dog." Submitted by catyron, 04/25/18.
The $25,000 Janet asks Della for would be almost $220,000 in 2021 money. OLEF641 5/12/21
It seems to me that this one of the few episodes where the key part of the episode title, ”The Weary Watchdog” is mentioned over and over again. Could the Kamakura Watchdog be weary from so much repetition? Submitted by gracep, 1/20/2011.
+See comment on The Purple Woman, #48! Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 2/8/13.
+It annoyed me to no end! It is a Fu Shi (Fortunate Lion) not a "Weary Watchdog" GRRRRR... Submitted by catyron, 04/25/18.
Although I loved that Della got to shine in this episode, the constant mention of “weary watchdog”, Cee Cee’s “Charlie Chan” philosophizing, and the ludicrous (and inaccurate) art world gibberish make this one of my least favorite episodes. DOD 12/28/20
To my mind, nobody did smarm better than John Dall! Ed Zoerner 12/28/12.
+ Amen to THAT! submitted by MikeReese, 2/8/2016
++ Dall's blackmailer/extortionist Edward Franklin has to be one of the two or three most odious characters in series history, made even more so by Dall's terrific depiction of Franklin relishing his own malevolence. (An indication of the effectiveness of Dall's performance is that you can't wait until Franklin gets what's coming to him and then don't find the episode quite as interesting once he does get bumped off.) Submitted by BobH, 6 July 2017.
+++"Dall, through the Ages." To amend slightly what Ed Zoerner said above: Nobody did Edward Franklin more frequently in his latter performances than John Dall. "Atlantis, the Lost Continent" (1961) features Dall as an evildoer who turns a death ray on the citizens of Atlantis, and his character could just as well have been an ancient ancestor of Franklin. In his other PM appearances, he also plays a Franklinesque character who acts as if he'd like nothing better than to get bumped off. In other words, if you hired John Dall you got Ed Franklin. Submitted by BobH, 20 May 2021.
IMHO there's a strong resemblance between John Dall as Edward Franklin and Wesley Addy as Alton Brent; completely different personalities, of course. jfh 13Dec2019
In the final scene Mr. Burger said "Mrs. Grant" instead of Mrs. Brent. Submitted by H. Mason 12/29/14
Anyone else annoyed when the DA, or Lt. Tragg--knowing Perry and his reputation, behavior and history of getting the true criminal--comes after him -- or in this case, Della- - as if he were some crooked, corrupt lawyer, flouting the law? I know it is done to add tension, but it seems out of character when they are otherwise friendly and respectable to each other. --yelocab 14MAR18
+ Realistically, Hamilton would have recused himself, or at least handed the case to an assistant DA. vgy7ujm 12 August 2020
+ ... and, the police just simply burst in to Perry's office regardless that a client may be in a confidential conference with the attorney. jfh 13Dec2019
Paul's Funny: he refers to The Weary Watchdog statuette as "the tired mutt". jfh 13Dec2019
Is this the ONLY episode in which the trial actually culminates in a jury deliberation? jfh 13Dec2019
Really, watch the episode and then read this comment. I’ll wait. Done? Okay, did you spot the problem with the name of the statue? It’s revealed at the end. If you did, it might have given you a clue, or it might have absolutely pestered you throughout the episode. Submitted by gracenote, 7/23/2011.
+ Here’s the spoiler more explicitly now. The name of the Watchdog was in Japanese, not in Chinese. (As they plainly said in the end, of course). If you recognized that, then probably much of the story was ruined for you, alas! This is one of two shows I found giving away too much in the very beginning. (The other time is #257, TCOT Midnight Howler). Submitted by gracenote, 1/26/2012.
+ Not me, I don't know my Asian well enough to recognize "Kamakura" as Japanese, not Chinese. With gracenote's comment in mind, I looked for an early revelation that the Watchdog was Japanese, but I didn't get one.
+ Thanks for commenting that Japanese surnames tend to be multi-syllabic while Chinese surnames are usually a single syllable, John Mason, I must admit I never noticed that before. resubmitted by DyNama 9/30/2015
+ Given the time period this show originally aired in, I think we could overlook the Japanese/Chinese confusion - how much did the average American know of the difference, or want to? The funny thing to me is that I had a Chinese friend in high-school, and we used to joke about race. One of his nick-names for me was 'Samurai Mike' (yes, that was well before the Chicago Bears Mike Singletary came along), and I called him 'Number-One Soul Brother'! He knew the 'Samurai' designation was Japanese - he didn't care, and neither did I! Submitted by MikeReese, 2/8/2016
+ I noticed it right away and i thought that either too big a clue was being given ... or the script writer had lamely conflated the two languages. Turns out it was the former, but, growing up in California, i happen to know Japanese from Chinese. Probably most viewers of that era, outside of California, would not have caught it. Submitted by catyron, 04/25/18.
+ Having lived in Japan, I recognized Kamakura as Japanese and assumed the writer was just sloppy--not that he was giving us a BIG hint! As others have said, it would have been too subtle to give anything away to most viewers, just as to most of Perry's associates, yet it worked perfectly as a clue for the erudite Perry, who is a connoisseur of Asian culture. So I say bravo to the scriptwriter for a very clever plot detail! See my comments below, however, for my less flattering opinion of his script. Submitted by JazzBaby, 3/24/2019
+ Like JazzBaby, I lived in Japan as well. I watched this episode with my mother and remarked how strange it was that Mr. Chang wanted to reclaim the statue for China as Kamakura was Japanese not Chinese (it's the name of a famous city). I didn't pick up on it as a clue as to who the perpetrator was, however, oops. Like other commenters, I just assumed there was another reason for it. I did feel slightly vindicated at the end when Perry made his remarks, though! Submitted by JRE 11/13/2019
I first read of the racket described in this episode in a RACKET SQUAD IN ACTION comic; although in the comic the people being swindled were German-Americans, the depictions of the two rackets - the racketeers in the RACKET SQUAD story are swindling emigres from Middle Europe by forcing them to hand over money to keep their family members alive - are almost exactly similar. In the RACKET SQUAD story, the criminals are thwarted by a man whose mother is supposed to be in a prison behind the Iron Curtain, but who had actually died several days prior to the blackmailers' arrival. . . Red Chief, 23/5/2017
TCOT Sickening Sadists This episode was extremely difficult for me to get through. What seemed like one of the usual blackmail stories, with an art-scams-for-profit subplot thrown in, turned into an excruciating tale of torture and cruelty. Beulah Quo's scene as Mrs. Tong was horrifyingly believable. It was chilling to see how coldhearted C.C. Chang was, even when his crimes were revealed. I hope he was executed, but that would not solve the problem of Chinese slave labor, of course. This was a very heavy episode throughout, with Lt. Anderson and Burger showing no sympathy or concern for Della, despite the friendly and mutually supportive relationships the two teams have in other episodes. They were downright ugly to her. Finally, Mrs. Brent put herself and her best friend in jeopardy to protect her marriage to a criminal! Although it is never made clear what criminal activity he and Chang were partners in. Presumably fraud. Not an episode I will watch again! Submitted by JazzBaby, 3/24/2019.
Pursuant to my comments above, this was one of 36 episodes written by Samuel Newman. While I appreciate his clever planting of the Kamakura clue, I am baffled by his poor handling of the relationships between our regulars here. Just a few episodes before, in TCOT Hateful Hero, he gave us Lt. Anderson coming to Perry for help defending his cousin. There was no coldness between them then, only compassion and mutual respect. Burger has also sought Perry's help, defending a friend. Where did all that go when it was DELLA on the line?!? Either they are hypocritical creeps, or Newman was a careless and inconsistent scriptwriter. I choose the latter explanation. Submitted by a very disgruntled JazzBaby, 3/24/2019.
Perry takes another risk here were he puts Alton Brent on the stand and challenges him to identify two carvings--which is which. Brent has a 50/50 chance of getting it correct, or he may actually know a bit about the carving styles to make a correct identification. Of course, Brent admits he can't id them--won't even try, and this gamble, again, turns out in Perry's favor. --yelocab 14MAR18
+ This is in regard to the above Trivia note and related comment about the statue being a Chinese lion or Fu Shi. I lived in Japan for a number of years. Since it was a Japanese statuette not a Chinese one and referred to as a "watchdog," I assumed, perhaps wrongly so, that it was based not on the Chinese lion but rather on the Japanese Komainu, a mythical dog-like creature often used as a guardian. Many Shinto shrines in Japan have a pair of guardian animal statues at or near the entrance. They might be a pair of stylized lions (called Shishi in Japan), one Shishi lion and one Komainu, or a pair of Komainu. Komainu do look like stylized lions and are often called lion dogs, but they are considered dogs not lions. When Edward Franklin tells Ms. Trixie Tong to get the statue ready after Mrs. Holmes purchases it, it sounded to me like he says, "Prepare the Kamakura Koma(?)" or perhaps "Kamakura Komainu"? Which is another reason why I thought it was a Komainu and not a lion. Since Komainu are guardian dogs, I thought watchdog was appropriate. Submitted by JRE, 11/13/2019
++ First, thanks to all with the expertise about the statue. I learned much from your comments. Second, Holy smokes Della is a knockout. She always looks good, but in this episode she takes my breath away. Submitted by Rickapolis (with permission from my wife) 01/12/22
+++ I second that emotion, Rickapolis. The gown she wore to the charity event (and the hoosegow) was a treasure, but I really enjoyed her being caught up in the action, and the many active closeups she got (as opposed to the usual standing next to Perry and Paul, asking supporting questions). And oh, yeah, thanks to the group for all that statue stuff. JohnK, 12 January 2022.