Perry Mason's lone Halloween episode showcases loads of classic horror talent
The stars of The Exorcist and The Fly were at the center of this mystery!
Yes, even Perry Mason celebrated Halloween. In "The Case of the Dodging Domino," which aired on November 1, El Dia de los Muertos, 1962, saw Perry ushering a bunch of trick-or-treaters into the courtroom. Fitting for the Day of the Dead, one of the kids was dressed as a skeleton.
Perhaps by coincidence, the episode also happens to feature a gaggle of actors from classic horror movies. Just as it might be a coincidence that this episode happens to be episode six of season six… 6-6! Spooky!
Let's start with Ellen McRae, who plays Mona White, Perry's client. You know her better know as Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn. This was one of her earliest major television roles. A decade later, she would become one of the most acclaimed actresses in Hollywood, earning Academy Award nods for The Last Picture Show (1971), Same Time, Next Year (1978) and… The Exorcist (1973)! (She would win a trophy for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.)
Burstyn's portrayal of the mother of a possessed girl continues to haunt. The Exorcist arguably remains the scariest movie of all time.
David Hedison appears in the Perry Halloween mystery as Damion White, the husband to Mona. The Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea earned his big break in the eerie masterpiece The Fly. The original from 1958. Hedison's character, Andre Delambre, was the man who transformed into the fly after experimenting with teleportation!
That is not it! The episode also features Jeff Morrow, who appeared in several Fifties horror favorites such as The Giant Claw, Kronos, The Creature Walks Among Us and This Island Earth.
Likewise, the killer in "The Case of the Dodging Domino" — six-decade-old spoiler alert — was played by Robert H. Harris, who had previously starred as the lead in How to Make a Monster (1958), perhaps his biggest role.
Of course, let's not forget that Perry Mason himself, Raymond Burr, was the only American lead in the 1956 English-language version of the original Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
It all adds up to one treat for fans of horror — and courtroom drama.
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*And it really was the 666th broadcast of the series. Some series incorrectly count hour broadcasts as one episode when it is really two episodes. For example, the episode promoted as the 350th of Family Guy was really the 356th episode broadcast. This also includes the made-for-TV but "banned" (so far) episode that has been released on DVD.