Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Skeleton's Closet 

Margaret Layton is deeply worried that ex-husband and author Richard Harris will publish a trashy novel because of its affect on their daughters. When she visits him, she is overheard threatening to kill him and fires a gun in his desk.


Arthur Marks


Erle Stanley Gardner (based upon characters created by), Sam Neuman


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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
Wesley Lau ... Lt. Anderson
Keith Andes ... Dave Weaver
Peggy McCay ... Margaret Layton
Frank Aletter ... Harry Collins
Michael Pate ... Richard Harris
David Lewis ... Albert McCann
Dabbs Greer ... Jack Tabor
Pat Finley ... Grace Kingman
John Heath John Heath ... George Layton
Walter Mathews ... Second Reporter


Author Richard Harris has created something of a firestorm with his tell-all book about life in a Los Angeles suburb. Billed as an entirely true, real-life story, he has told the world about affairs, drunkenness and the residents other peccadilloes. Perry Mason has been hired by a group of those affected to either stop publication of the book or have the publisher change the marketing campaign but Harris, for one, won't hear of it, even after the publisher settles with Perry. Particularly concerned is Margaret Layton, who was once married to Harris who is the father of her children. She's afraid they will learn of their past and pleads with Perry to do something about it. She visits Harris at his home to plead with him. She is overheard by Harry Collins threatening to kill Harris. When she sees a gun in the desk drawer, she grabs it and pulls the trigger shooting into the desk. When Harris is found shot dead, Margaret is charged with murder. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

2 May 1963 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The judge in this episode had no speaking lines, meaning there was not one objection lodged by either attorney during the courtroom scenes. See more »


Gun in desk is different from the gun presented as evidence at court. See more »


[first lines]
First Reporter: Funny how the dirt about one small area in a big city can become a national pastime.
Second Reporter: Psychiatrists have a couple fo ten-dollar words for it. Emotionally disenfranchised.
See more »

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User Reviews

Return of Collins?
2 May 2019 | by thbrynSee all my reviews

This episode--an above average one-- included Ray Collins who portrayed Lt. Tragg since the show's beginning. Veteran actor Collins had been absent for many months and presumably ill. He only had a few short lines and looked frail.

Collins was a big part of this series and with his career coming to an end he was still in the credits until 1965.

This Ep. also had a African American judge in the courtroom scenes. This may have been a first in US TV.

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