The Perry Mason TV Show Book
The Cops: Lt. Tragg and Company

The Other Side of Tragg

But the lieutenant did have a soft side to go with his soft heart. There was a revealing scene in "The Case of the Silent Partner," when we saw Tragg leaving his office after a long, hard day carrying a bag of groceries with a loaf of Wonder Bread sticking out of the top. Another time, we saw him playfully shooting paper clips at his wastebasket.

The best example of the humor behind the straight man occurred in "The Case of the jaded joker." Tragg and Mason discussed the evidence that cleared Danny Ross. Most of the investigation took place in a beatnik cafe, and the mood lingered. Perry admitted that the key clue to the case was a remark made by the killer after his victim was found stuffed in the kneehole of his desk: "The only chance for a square is to be born again."

Tragg: "Well, I'm glad this one's over; I'm beat."
Della (laughing): "Dig the hipster."
Tragg: "Don't bug me, granny. I'mone of the cool ones. I don't dig slickchicks trying to goof me up . . . daddy-o."

Tragg made a smooth exit after delivering his beatnik jive, much to the amazement of Perry and Della. From the other side of the door they heard: "Goodnight, Counselor."

Collins was the oldest of the Mason players, being sixty-seven years old when he came to the show. He stayed with the series and played Lt. Tragg for six years, until midway through the 1963-64 season, when he left due to a lung condition. He died on July 12, 1965, at age seventy-five, of emphysema.

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The Perry Mason TV Show Book Copyright 1987 by Brian Kelleher and Diana Merrill. All rights reserved. Presented here by permission of the copyright holder. Commercial use prohibited. Web page Copyright 1998 D. M. Brockman. Last edited 04 Nov 2004.