Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Clumsy Clown 

Four years after a half owner of a circus is mauled by a tiger, the two owners are trying to buy out each other. Both are after a clown in the circus for the funds. The second owner is blackmailing him about his wife's second marriage.


Andrew V. McLaglen


Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by), Sam Neuman

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Episode cast overview:
Raymond Burr ... Perry Mason
Barbara Hale ... Della Street
William Hopper ... Paul Drake
Ray Collins ... Police Lt. Arthur Tragg
Kenneth Tobey ... Deputy D.A. Jack Alvin
Chana Eden ... Lisa Franklin
Douglas Henderson Douglas Henderson ... Felix Heidemann
Margaret Hayes ... Joyce Gilbert (as Maggie Hayes)
Walter Sande ... Judd Curtis
Willard Sage ... Tony Gilbert
Robert Clarke ... Jerry Franklin
Ken Curtis ... Tim Durant
Lillian Bronson ... Judge
Jon Lormer ... Autopsy Surgeon
Russ Thompson Russ Thompson ... Ring Master


Circus clown Felix Heidemann marries Lisa in a whirlwind. Part owner Jerry Franklin, who is also in love with Lisa, is taken aback. In her drunken exuberance Lisa accidentally releases a tiger that seriously mauls Jerry. Four years later, Lisa has married wheelchair-bound Jerry out of pity, but she did not divorce Felix. The two owners of the circus have an agreement that gives each an option to buy the other owner out for $180,000. The second owner, Judd Curtis, comes to Felix telling him he wants the money Felix is raising for Jerry for his own use or he will tell Jerry about Lisa and Felix. Another clown, Tim Durant, tries to oust Felix from the circus to take his job by supporting Curtis, in his bid to buy out Jerry. Felix consults Perry Mason, and everyone goes to the circus that evening, including Lt. Tragg who has been called about an attempted murder. During Felix's act, the main attraction, one stunt involves blank cartridges, but one shot fired was a live round that kills ... Written by richardann

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery








Release Date:

5 November 1960 (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?


Ken Curtis guest starred in this episode as Durant. He would later be known famously as Festus on Gunsmoke. See more »


Lt. Tragg is witness to a homicide because he is investigating an attempted homicide perpetrated in the same whereabouts earlier that day. Police departments don't assign homicide investigators to attempted homicide cases. See more »


[first lines]
Felix Heidemann: Lisa, wait.
Lisa Franklin: What is it?
Felix Heidemann: The threshold. I've got to carry you.
Lisa Franklin: [slightly tipsy] The threshold. The threshold.
See more »

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User Reviews

Murder At the big top
8 October 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I recall in two of the later Perry Mason movies the gambit of the murder with many witnesses, in one case a television audience, was used. In this episode a circus audience witnesses the murder of one of the owners of the circus by the arena's top performer, a clown. The clown is played by Douglas Henderson and he and the owner were rivals for Chana Eden.

Of course Henderson is innocent what Perry Mason client isn't? But try as I might I could not quite that his claim of not even being in the show that night couldn't hold up. He certainly would have to have been recognized by somebody on the train to San Francisco. William Hopper sure fell down on his job in locating an alibi witness.

Not the best Perry Mason out there.

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