Perry Mason (1957–1966)
9 user

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

Good plot that was made too strange
20 June 2012 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

This episode never seemed to go anywhere. The writers used an extremely complex story to describe a simple plot leaving the viewer puzzled. So much time was dedicated to the selling of the circus and trying to discredit one character that the main plot was lost. Thus making it more of a disappointment than what the summary of the episode predicted. Another problem is the casting of Douglas Henderson as a clown. That was odd from the very start.

The story involves the Curtis-Franklin Circus. At the beginning of the show we see the main clown, Felix Heidemann and his new bride Lisa Franklin. They had just married and was breaking the news to one of the owner, Jerry Franklin, when Lisa accidentally let a leopard escape and it mauls owner Jerry Franklin.

The scenes switch to five years later and for some reason Lisa is now married to Jerry Franklin. (I guess she felt bad for the mauling) However she never got a divorce from Felix. (which is just a few strange things about this episode). ---- Anyway the two owners Jerry Franklin and Judd Curtis are trying to buy each other out of their half of the circus. And each is having a hard time coming up with the money that is needed.

During a circus performance which is attended by the entire cast of the show- including Perry, Della Paul and Lt Tragg-- Felix is to perform his clown act in full garb. During the act the clown points a gun that is thought to contain blanks at owner Judd Curtis and shoots. However the gun contained real bullets and kills Mr Curtis. The clown flees the tent before anyone can catch him.

Since a host of people saw the performance that was to be Felix's clown act- and now Felix is nowhere to be found-- Lt Tragg issues a murder warrant on Felix and Perry will defend him in court.

The part of the episode about the clown performance and the shooting was a point of interest. However, much of the show was spent on other minor details. And when we get to the final courtroom scene, we get slighted by strange courtroom confession.

This episode never lived up to expectations. A simple plot that was over-written.

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