Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Misguided Missile 

Major Jerry Reynolds, who supervises missile development, is looking to leave the Air Force. Due to launch failures, the Air Force sends an investigator, who happens to have a grudge against Reynolds. When he is murdered, Jerry is charged.


John Peyser


Erle Stanley Gardner (based upon characters created by), Sol Stein | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond Burr ... Perry Mason
Barbara Hale ... Della Street (credit only)
William Hopper ... Paul Drake
Ray Collins ... Police Lt. Arthur Tragg (credit only)
Bruce Bennett ... Dan Morgan
Jeanne Bal ... Helen Rand
Simon Oakland ... Capt. Mike Caldwell
Robert Rockwell ... Maj. Jerry Reynolds
Richard Arlen ... Dr. Harrison
William Schallert ... Dr. Bradbury
Med Flory ... Capt. McVey
George N. Neise ... George Huxley (as George Neise)
Stephen Roberts Stephen Roberts ... Maj. Cooke
Richard Shannon Richard Shannon ... Col. Sloan
Ronnie Knox Ronnie Knox ... Sgt. Lewis


Major Jerry Reynolds is in charge of a rocket project at the Vandenberg Air Force base and they are having major problems. Their most recent launch failed and another attempt is scheduled. It will be the last try for Dan Morgan whose company will lose it's contract to George Huxley's firm if they fail again. The main scientist on the project for Morgan has a severe drinking problem while the Morgan public relations representative is having an affair with Huxley. Reynolds also has to put up with Captain Mike Caldwell from the Inspector General's office who is there to look into the project. Caldwell blames Reynolds for not being promoted so there is a chill in the air. Reynolds plans to resign his commission to take a job with Huxley due to his father's financial problems. He asks Perry to look over the job contract before he signs to make sure there is no conflict of interest. A scientist finds evidence of what caused the last launch failure which is ultimately found hidden in ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

6 May 1961 (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?


George N. Neise appeared in the series five times, and in this episode he gives his only performance as someone other than the murder victim. See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful Historic Episode made during the "Space Race"
27 November 2018 | by XweAponXSee all my reviews

Filmed probably at Vandenberg, this episode shows actual Atlas booster rockets being assembled and tested, even fail with massive explosions. The story that this episode tells is of the mad dash by private corporations to obtain the best and most lucrative missile-building contracts, snagging the best technicians, and snubbing out any competition. But even with the unfortunate shark eat shark method of capitalism used to make our rockets, we in fact beat the Russians to the Moon and put a Man there - Several Men. And this episode was made right at the start of our venture to recreate that one thing Nazi Germany was able to accomplish that the Allied countries failed to produce: Rockets that could be made on assembly-line that flew reliably over and over. And our Atlas Booster highlighted in this show was out second major booster, after the Redstone which propelled John Glenn into Orbit, unless he rode on an Atlas and I remember incorrectly.

How does Perry Mason and Paul Drake fit into this? Well, Perry has a friend at the base which he stops off to see... And that is how it always starts.

Our mystery would-be murderers are veteran actors Bruce Bennett of The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Jeannie Bal of Star Trek Salt Monster Fame, William Schallert who was in Star Trek and Star Trek Deep Space Nine, and James B Sikking who would go on to Captain of the ship named after Stan Lee: the Excelsior, The Transwarp Experiment and Bucket of Bolts as Scotty called it while handing Bones two pieces from the main energizer, causing the NX-2000 to flounder and grind to a jaggedy halt in Star Trek: The Search for Spock. So, without knowing the Future, CBS populated a prophetic Perry Mason episode about space with actors who would eventually go on to be familiar faces in our country's most popular Space show.

And the Madness of Bruce Bennett's character Dan Morgan, designer of the rocket of this episode, gives us a look into the minds of the common scientist who worked on rockets during the Space Race: Not altogether there, but they did in fact produce results, regardless of how they got them.

But we have here two rival companies, one using corporate sabotage to ruin a test, with an ironically placed act of sabotage, a method used in the early 1980's to bring down a jet flying tom Chicago to San Diego: Use a hacksaw on a crucial bolt.

Perry has to find the real Saboteur, of course. Simon Oakland of Black Sheep Squadron and a few great movie parts is the hard nose, not to be sidetracked Inspector General who discovers the Sabotage method, but is tricked into placing blame at the wrong man, but he is not given a chance to correct his mistake, as he is this week's "High Profile Perry Mason Corpse-of-the-Week".

All in all, one of the best Location episodes of Perry Mason, utilizing many of our Military to show Life at a Rocket Base. Wonderful, just Wonderful.

Note that the Military Court set is the exact same set as a previous episode that involved a court-martial.

Notes: Other reviewers have made issues out of apparent lack of security, drinking on base, etc. This is probably 1961, not the Paranoid, Lock down everything 2010's. People in the 1960s actually left home without locking doors. Our standards of 2018 are to be overly paranoid of things like caravans coming to our San Ysidro Border, yet give our OrangePresident a Pass for using unsecured cell phones to call other heads of state. In the late 50's and early 60's, security was where it was needed, not everywhere. And, it appeared to have been more effective than 2018's method of using Bio-security for our cars and houses and iPhones, passwords for every app we use and all of our 200 Fake twitter accounts, and having to have a damn CHIP stuck into our Bank Cards. The 1960's were easier, and had less people stealing stuff, seems like there is more crime in 2018 than what happened in Perry's time.

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