Perry Mason (1957–1966)
7 user

The Case of the Lonely Eloper 

Merle Telford is nearly 21 but has the personality of a youngster due to her overbearing guardian's wife. Merle plans to elope after her birthday but the plans go askew when the wife is murdered and diamonds are stolen. Merle is charged.


Arthur Marks


Robert C. Dennis, 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 (credit only)
Jack Ging ... Danny Pierce
John Dall ... Julian Kirk
Jana Taylor Jana Taylor ... Merle Telford
Joan Staley ... Gina Gilbert
Jorja Curtright ... Olivia Langley
Wesley Lau ... Police Lt. Andy Anderson
Paul Tripp Paul Tripp ... Howard Langley
Billy Halop ... Corbett
Kenneth MacDonald ... Judge
Carol Andreson Carol Andreson ... Margo Stevens


Howard Langley has been appointed by the courts as Merle Telford's trustee but it's Howard's wife, Olivia, who has taken charge of the girl. Merle is a week shy of her 21st birthday but is almost child-like in many ways. When she buys airline tickets for herself and her friend, Danny Pierce, Olivia puts a stop to it, even slapping her across the face when she resists. For his part, Danny Pierce is wooing the innocent Merle for no other reason than to get at her diamonds and has been working with Merle's friend, Gina Gilbert, to make that a reality. Paul Drake, who is at the party working for Olivia, catches Merle waiting with luggage for Danny and tells Merle that her diamonds have been stolen from her Aunt Olivia. Once her uncle tells Merle that Olivia was murdered however, Paul contacts Perry Mason to protect Merle's interests as the police want to search her luggage. After Perry arrives, he gives Lt. Anderson the keys and, when the luggage is searched, the murder weapon is found ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery








Release Date:

26 May 1962 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Joan Staley, who portrays Gina Gilbert, was selected as November 1958 Playmate of the Month. See more »


The messenger comments to Danny Pierce (Jack Ging) about the noise of the party next door. Danny says he should "try reading with that racket" and the messenger suggests he crash the party. But Danny is clearly wearing a formal pleated shirt with black studs, which should have made it obvious he was most likely coming from or going to the party, not sitting at home reading. See more »


[first lines]
[Merle sleepwalks to her cousin house next door and, while lying on a couch, Julian half-way notices her ]
Julian Kirk: She walks in beauty like the night. The question is, why? Escape from the wicked aunt? Lure of forbidden pleasures? Or do you just want a neighbor to play jacks with you?
Julian Kirk: No, I-I apologize for that last remark. You have grown up, little cousin, in a manner of speaking. Is that it? Have your tender ears picked up whispers? Well, it's all true, darling. I'm depraved, ...
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User Reviews

Warning - Characters mis-identified in other reviews
31 January 2015 | by slackersmomSee all my reviews

Unless I'm totally off the mark, the other reviews of this Perry Mason episode are way off-base. They ALL identify the character of Margo Stevens (played by Carol Anderson) as the "lonely eloper" of the title, that is, the child-like niece who is charged with killing her overbearing Aunt Olivia. Margo Stevens is NOT the niece, and does NOT stand trial, and is, in fact, little more than window- dressing.

The basis of the story is: Olivia Langley is the trustee of her niece MERLE TELFORD's fortune, and she treats Merle like a child, belittles her, and does not allow her to make any decisions on her own. On Merle's 21st birthday, when Merle will legally be free of her aunt's influence, Olivia is found stabbed to death and the murder weapon is in Merle's possession.

As far as I know, Margo Stevens barely appears in the episode at all (one scene) and does NOT play a large role in it; turns out she is only involved in a case of mistaken identity with another character, Gina Gilbert.

Again, the main character/defendant in this episode is Merle Telford, played by Jana Taylor.

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