Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Wary Wildcatter 

A man is caught on camera killing his wife by pushing her over a cliff in a car. The photographer blackmails the man bleeding him dry as the man cons others by overselling ownership in a wildcat well. The con man is murdered himself.


William D. Russell


Robert Bloomfield, Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by)


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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 ... Police Lt. Arthur Tragg
Douglas Kennedy ... Lucky Sterling
Barbara Bain ... Madelyn Terry
Byron Palmer ... Charles Houston
Lori March ... Paula Wallace
King Calder ... Floyd Gordon
Harry Jackson Harry Jackson ... Roger Byrd
Richard Gaines ... Judge
Larry J. Blake ... Prowl Car Officer (as Larry Blake)
Anthony De Mario Anthony De Mario ... Dealer
George E. Stone ... Court Clerk


Freelance photographer Roger Byrd takes telephoto pictures of oil wildcatter Charles Houston pushing a car over a cliff with his wife Evelyn in it. Houston pays Byrd blackmail over several payments bleeding him dry, then offers a share in a prospective well, but Byrd refuses. Houston then reluctantly sells big time gambler Lucky Sterling 50% of the action for $20,000 to pay off Byrd. Byrd double-crosses Houston and offers to sell the incriminating photos to Paula Wallace, Evelyn's sister, who intends to pay Byrd with money from her 50% of Houston's well. Paula consults Perry Mason but does not tell him the whole truth. Incredibly, the 180% oversold wildcat well comes in a huge producer. Charles flees and is found dead in Byrd's apartment by Paula, shot with Evelyn's gun. Someone locks her in the apartment and turns out the lights forcing her to escape via the fire escape but she is caught by the police. Paula is charged with murder, and Perry has to sort things out. Written by richardann

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Crime | Drama | Mystery



Did You Know?


Perry and Hamilton have switched sides in the court room. See more »


Roger Byrd films a car being pushed off a cliff. When the car tips over and starts its descent, the viewfinder image cuts to a long shot taken from a vantage point far from where Byrd was standing. See more »


[first lines]
Charles Houston: [looking at incriminating photos of him] I've already paid you $25,000 for these.
Roger Byrd: [laughing] Oh, no, Houston, you've been paying me for goodwill. Now's your chance to pay me for them... For keeps. $20,000.
See more »

User Reviews

Super Perry Mason Episode
22 February 2018 | by gerrytwo-438-470452See all my reviews

"The Case of the Wary Wildcatter" is one of the best Perry Mason TV series' episodes. Everyone in this story is out for money, a totally cynical story written by Robert Bloomfield. Bloomfield wrote 4 Perry Mason episodes and this one, his last, is the best of the lot. The story starts off with a guy sending a car over a cliff, the car containing the body of his murdered wife. Somehow, a nature photographer/blackmailer with a movie camera is nearby, camera recording the action.

William D. Russell directed this episode, so it is a class job. Somehow, Russell went from directing "Perry Mason" episodes (28 episodes in total through 1960) to directing the "Hazel" TV series (136 episodes, starting in 1961). Russell's presence could only have helped "Perry Mason" from Season Four on, when the series' quality and toughness declined under regular directors Arthur Marx and Jesse Hibbs before hitting rock bottom in Season Nine. Writer Bloomfield wrote a crime novel, "When Strangers Meets" (Pocket Book edition, 1957), that the producers of "Perry Mason" must have read. Bloomfield's career in American television ended around 1967. Bloomfield's credits also includes a 1965 play called "Portrait of Murder." This play is set entirely in the living room of a writer's home, which cuts down on staging costs. An Internet search shows this play gets produced pretty often by theater companies in Great Britain.

For those of us not traveling overseas to the UK in the near future, this Perry Mason episode is a super way to see writer Robert Bloomfield's best work.

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Release Date:

20 February 1960 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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