Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Arrogant Arsonist 

Carey York is a retired fire chief who owns a warehouse that is burned by an arsonist and kills a clerk. A TV reporter accuses York of setting the fire. York hires Perry to sue for libel but York is charged when the reporter is killed.


Jesse Hibbs


Erle Stanley Gardner (based upon characters created by), Samuel Newman


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond Burr ... Perry Mason
Barbara Hale ... Della Street (credit only)
William Hopper ... Paul Drake
William Talman ... Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins ... Lt. Tragg (credit only)
Wesley Lau ... Lt. Anderson
Tom Tully ... Carey York
Frank Aletter ... Tommy Towne
Jeff York ... Ross Walker
Wynn Pearce Wynn Pearce ... Dorian York
Elaine Devry ... Sylvia Gwynne
Russell Thorson ... Farrell Moorefield
Byron Morrow ... Captain Hillman
Connie Cezon Connie Cezon ... Gertie
Tenen Holtz ... Otto Joseph


When a warehouse belonging to retired former fire chief Carey York goes up in flames, killing the manager inside, muckraking talk show host Tommy Towne goes on the air and accuses York of setting the fire for insurance purposes. Fire starting materials were found in York's car at the fire. York and the current deputy fire chief go to Perry and ask him to represent him in a libel suit against Towne. Perry demands a retraction from Towne if he cannot prove his earlier accusation. However, when it is found that one of the items destroyed in the fire was a coil winding machine belonging to a business competitor of York's son Dorian, Towne in a prerecorded session instead publicly accuses York of starting the fire to save his son's business. Just after this accusation airs, Towne is found dead after going down a cliff in York's car. York is charged with arson and murder and Perry defends him by proving his innocence outside court. Written by rbecker28

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

5 March 1964 (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?


The actor Tenen Holtz made his last appearance in movies and television in this role of Otto Joseph who ironically is murdered at the onset of this telecast. See more »


In the opening scene, an arsonist piles combustible materials on Mr. Joseph's desk. Said combustibles are absent in the next shot of the desk. See more »


[first lines]
Otto Joseph: [on phone] Yes. Yes, darling. I know it's Sunday and I know I promised to take you out for dinner, but I cannot help myself. Yes. Elaine, please understand, your father is still a stranger in this country, a poor stranger who has to work and work hard for a living. Business here is bad. Very bad. I'm worried. I try only to help. You understand? Yeah. Yes, Elaine, I,ll try to finish the paperwork early. Then perhaps we still can go out. Good-bye. Good-bye, my baby.
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User Reviews

Why was Tom Tully's warehouse torched?
10 March 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Pushy and mouthy talk show host Frank Aletter who has it in for former Fire Chief Tom Tully whom he held responsible for not saving his house. Now there's been an arson fire and it's at a warehouse that Tully owns and he's said on the air that Tully torched his own place. That wins him a slander suit for which Tully has retained Perry Mason. Oh, incidentally the night watchman was killed in the arson.

But then Tully gets arrested when Aletter is found at the bottom of a canyon in Tully's car and dead before it hit the bottom. That's when Tom Tully really needs Raymond Burr.

One of the shortest courtroom sequences in the history is in this area, where Raymond Burr puts on no defense at the hearing and the judge orders Tully bound over for trial. To William Talman's befuddlement, but Burr has it in mind to get the real culprit to implicate himself outside the courtroom.

That involves the real killer briefly holding Perry Mason hostage and then fleeing another waterfront warehouse. The Perry Mason Show gets a bit of unexpected action not in the courtroom.

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