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.
Tragg:Dont bug me, granny. Imone of the cool ones. I dont dig slickchicks trying to goof me up . . . daddy-o.
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 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.
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.
Della (laughing):Dig the hipster.
Tragg:Well, Im glad this ones over; Im beat.