Perry Mason (1957–1966)
4 user

The Case of the Runaway Racer 

Pete Griston is a race car driver in a new partnership. After the fact, he asked Perry to look it over and he discovers problems. When Pete has an accident in a test car, it starts a series of events leading to the murder of his partner.


Jesse Hibbs


Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by), Sy Salkowitz




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond Burr ... Perry Mason
Barbara Hale ... Della Street
William Hopper ... Paul Drake
William Talman ... Hamilton Berger
Richard Anderson ... Police Lt. Steve Drumm
Dan Tobin ... Terrance Clay (credit only)
Hank Brandt Hank Brandt ... Pete Griston
Jan Shepard Jan Shepard ... Marge Leonard
Anthony Caruso ... Harvey Rettig
Michael Constantine ... Pappy Ryan
Richard Eastham ... Oliver Stone
Gavin MacLeod ... Dan Platte
Robert H. Harris ... Marty Webb
Jimmy Cross Jimmy Cross ... Drunk
Michael Harris Michael Harris ... Blake Leonard


Perry Mason has some bad news for his friend and client, Pete Griston. The deal he's signed with a new partner, Harvey Rettig, is considerably one-sided in Rettig's favor. That isn't the only problem. An old hand in the car racing business, Pappy Ryan, has developed a new gear assembly that he says will make his car the fastest on the track but Rettig has arranged to have his car disqualified due to safety concerns by the race sponsor, Oliver Stone. His family has sponsored the race for years but he is in financial difficulties. Pete takes Pappy's side in the dispute but, in his attempt to prove the car is safe, takes it onto the track where it fails and puts another driver, Blake Leonard, in the hospital. He says the car lost power and inspection of the gear assembly shows it failed. Pappy is convinced that everyone, including writer Dan Platte, is out to get him as Rettig manufactured the gear assembly for him. When Rettig is found dead, it's Pete who's arrested for murder and it's ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

14 November 1965 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Well respected African American actor Paul Winfield's first credited appearance in TV or film (26 years old). See more »


The part that was tampered with, that was removed from under the rear of the race car, is a planetary gear-set found in all Automatic Transmissions. The race car that he pulled the part from had a manual transmission. Also, this part could only be in his hands if the transmission was removed from the middle of the car and then dissembled and pulled from inside the transmission. That would take 2-3 hours, not 22 seconds as acted. See more »


[first lines]
Marge Leonard: Go, Blake, go!
Pete Griston: That won't help. I'll still beat him.
Marge Leonard: That's what you think.
See more »

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User Reviews

Different setting-Same story-Nothing New
21 December 2011 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

In this episode the writers are doing their best to present a different approach to a story that has been rehashed many times during the Perry Mason series. This time we have a murder that happens in the setting of a motor raceway.

Perry's defendant Pete Griston (Hank Brandt) is accused of the murder of Harvey Retting (Anthony Caruso). Pete had entered a contract with Harvey Rettig to race his cars. However the contract was well in the favor of Mr Rettig.

Pappy Ryan (Michael Constantine) was a race car builder for another team. He had developed a new transmission gear that would be the rage of the race car industry. But Mr Rettig finds a way to disqualify Pappy's car from the next race and also take over the production of the gears from Pappy.

When Pete hears this- he wants to quit his contract and have nothing to do with Mr Rettig. However the contract is clear and he expects Pete to drive and also win the next race. When Pete goes to talk with Mr Rettig he is found dead and all the evidence points to Pete.

Even though the story is somewhat simple, the episode has many characters that also have a motive for seeing the death of Mr Rettig. In fact the episode has too many characters and too many strange situations that it is difficult to keep them separate. Nearly all the remaining cast is highly suspect.

The mystery ends when Perry, in an informal race inquiry meeting, begins telling everyone how the murder and deception took place. And only in a 'Perry Mason' show could we have one person telling everyone, including Hamilton Burger and the police, how all the events transpired and who really is the true murderer. It came across as just too unbelievable.

I will say that the story had a different setting but did little to help the show. Just a middle of the pack show. Nothing really new to see here.

Note-Why they casted Michael Constantine as an older gentleman I do not know. He is good actor but the stretch was somewhat beyond-the-pale. It appears they spray-painted his hair gray to make him look old. On TV his hair looked as though he had walked through a room of cob-webs.

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