Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Drowning Duck 

Perry Mason, Della Street, and Paul Drake head to a small town to defend a young man who is charged with poisoning a blackmailer. They learn the man's father was executed for killing a man in the same town eighteen years earlier.


William D. Russell


Erle Stanley Gardner (based on the novel by), Al C. Ward (teleplay)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond Burr ... Perry Mason
Barbara Hale ... Della Street
William Hopper ... Paul Drake
William Talman ... Hamilton Burger (credit only)
Ray Collins ... Police Lt. Arthur Tragg (credit only)
Carol Kelly Carol Kelly ... Lois Reed
Nolan Leary ... Judge Harry Meeham (as Noland Leary)
Victor Sutherland Victor Sutherland ... Clyde Waters
Carolyn Craig ... Helen Waters
Don Beddoe ... George Norris
Paula Winslowe Paula Winslowe ... Martha Norris (as Paula Winslow)
Gary Vinson ... Marv Adams
Harry Landers ... Donald Briggs
Olive Blakeney ... Wilma Adams
Rusty Lane ... Police Chief Joe Glass


Donald Briggs has brought Lois Reed back to a small town in his attempt to blackmail multiple people. He was hired by Clyde Waters to investigate the background of young Marv Adams. Adams is a college student with a knowledge of chemistry engaged to Clyde's daughter Helen. Briggs has contacted several people including Mrs. Wilma Adams and Mr. Waters from whom he wants additional money as Marv's father was executed for murder. Clyde Waters contacts Perry Mason to check out Briggs and the information he has obtained. When Perry and Paul Drake attempt to talk to Briggs, they find him dead. When the police determine Briggs was gassed, they assume Marv Adams is guilty due to his knowledge of chemistry. Perry who has looked into the trial of Marv's father, believes the father did not receive a fair trial due to poor representation and the unwillingness of the both the prosecutor and defense to involve a Miss X who was the daughter of the local minister. In order for Perry to prove his ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery








Release Date:

12 October 1957 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The half circle window in the Judge's office including the last scene was years later(10) used as the window in Ironside - overlooking San Francisco (1967-1971) on the fourth floor of the Old Hall of Justice in San Francisco at 750 Kearny Street between Washington and Merchant Streets. The Old Hall had already been demolished while Ironside was still in production. See more »


When Mason introduces the "newspaper photo" as evidence, since it shows great detail and no halftone dot pattern, it is obviously not from a printed paper, but is an actual photograph. See more »


[first lines]
Donald Briggs: Welcome back to Logan City, Mrs. Reed. I'm Donald Briggs. I've got a cab waiting over here.
See more »

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User Reviews

So, the case all relies on someone incriminating themselves on the witness stand....
1 September 2019 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"The Case of the Drowning Duck" is an odd story. This is because in order to defend a young man accused of murder, Perry must bring up an old from 18 years ago in which a man was executed for murder. The reason suspicion was thrown on the old case is that the murder victim in the current case was a blackmailer who was apparently in town to blackmail SOMEONE over the old case....but who and why??

This is a decent story with one big problem....there's no proof who did any of the killing and Mason must rely on a too familiar gimmick in this show...the 'Perry Mason moment'. This is when he gets a person to admit on the stand they are guilty...something that just doesn't happen very often in real life. I've talked with lawyers who said they NEVER saw this in a real case...and I tend to believe them. After all, why would someone who killed BUT there isn't solid proof of this then admit to the killing in court?! Sloppy in an otherwise interesting episode.

By the way, the title of this show is referring to a 'magic trick' whereby a young man makes a duck sink and is unable to float. Fortunately it did NOT involve the duck drowning though it did seem like a cruel trick!

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