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EpisodePages/Show143

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<< Glamorous Ghost | Episodes | Mystified Miner >>

#143: The Case of the
Poison Pen-Pal
Original Airdate: 02/10/62

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (Revised)
An attention-starved girl innocently leaks vital information about her father's business, Gregson Cannery Company, in letters to her pen pal. When the information gets into the wrong hands, the company's financial security is seriously threatened. Great Aunt Wilma, the head of the company, takes it upon herself to punish little Sandra severely for leaking the information.

Later, when Aunt Wilma is murdered, Sandra must testify privately in the judge's chambers. This little girl knows more than she wants to.

Credits Edit

Random actor from episode. Click for page of all available.

Opening

Starring Raymond Burr
in The Case of the POISON PEN-PAL
Based upon Characters Created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale as Della Street
William Hopper as Paul Drake
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg

Trailing

Directed by Arthur Marks
Written by Maurice Zimm

“Perry Mason”
Art Seid | Producer
Gail Patrick Jackson | Executive Producer
Jackson Gillis | Associate Producer
Produced by The CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions
Samuel Newman | Story Consultant

Raymond Burr as Perry Mason
Barbara Hale as Della Street
William Hopper as Paul Drake
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg

Cast

Everett Sloane as District Attorney
Patricia Breslin as Karen Ross
Douglas Henderson as Peter Gregson
Bert Freed as Carl Holman
Wright King as Lee Gregson
Joan Tompkins as Florence Holman
Kathryn Givney as Wilma Gregson
Naomi Stevens as Agnes
Charles Cooper as Ben Willoughby
Harry Jackson as Matt Clark
Paul Genge as Inspector Wade
John Litel as Judge
Chrystine Jordan as Sandra Gregson
Diane Mountford as Jill Thatcher
Richard St. John as Autopsy Surgeon
Walter Kelly as Surgeon
Marshall Reed as First Officer
Diana Darrin as Mrs. Thatcher
John McKee as Woodfern
Sherry Hall as Court Clerk
Kathy Huber as Nurse

Uncredited Actors
Don Anderson as Silent Policeman (spotted by FredK)

Crew

Director of Photography … Robert G. Hager
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Gordon Webb
Film Editor … Richard H. Cahoon, A.C.E.
Casting … Harvey Clermont
Makeup … Irving Pringle
Hair Stylist … Annabell
Wardrobe Supervision … Ed McDermott, Evelyn Carruth
Set Decoration … Charles Q. Vassar
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … M.E.M. Gibsone
Sound … Glen Glenn Sound Co.
Automobiles Supplied by … Ford Motor Company
Titles and Opticals … Pacific Title

Trivia Edit

This is the only appearance on Perry by veteran movie actor John Litel, playing the judge. Among other roles, John Litel was the father, Carson Drew, of Nancy Drew in four Nancy Drew movies for Warner Brothers in the late 1930s. Submitted by PaulDrake 33, 8 August 2009.

This is also the only appearance on Perry by Everett Sloan, who plays the procecuting attorney. He's best known for his role as Mr. Bernstein in Citizen Kane. Although his finest performance may have been in another Orson Welles film, The Lady from Shanghai. He certainly does a fine job in this episode of Perry. Submitted by Kenmore 1/15/11.

Both Matt and Karen call Mrs. Thatcher "Doris." Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 6/19/12.

Although credited, Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg does not appear. Submitted by gracep, 12/17/2010.

Location: There is a fantastic establishing shot of the San Francsico International Airport with a nice, slow zoom. Unfortunately, we have no picture of this in our fine collection of other airports, but, with any luck, we may have one someday. Submitted by gracep, 12/17/2010.

Matt Clark uses a cup from the Curious Coffee Set in the coffee shop. More info here. Submitted by daveb, 12/30/10.

Uncredited Actors: Don Anderson appears in one of his familiar roles as a uniformed policeman. He’s the non-speaking member of the two-man team who confront Paul Drake when he is accused by Karen Ross (Pat Breslin) of stealing her young friend’s pen-pal letters. Submitted by FredK 28 Nov 2010.
+ While “Anderson” is only seen only at an angle from behind, it sure looks like him to me. Submitted by daveb, 12/17/10.

Sightings: Driving the cab taken by Perry and Miss Ross is the quiet (but interested) Blue-Collar Guy, decked out in a bowtie. Guess he takes jobs all over Californa. Submitted by gracep, 12/17/2010.

Location, continued: As note by gracep, there is a fascinating shot of the San Francisco Airport. The large statue off to the left is the Peace statue by SF's most famous sculptor, Beniamino Bufano. Although the statue has been relocated to the shores of SF's Lake Merced, it was at the airport location for approximately 40 years. See a color shot of the statue, with the airport in the background, here. Submitted by Fifty-Niner, 7 April 2012.

Other Location Shots: The rear projection showing San Francisco scenes from the rear window while Perry and Karen Ross are riding in the cab were taken on the California Street hill. We can see a cable car, and the tracks in the background, as well as the side of the Fairmont Hotel. However, their conversation is so long, that the scenery begins to repeat itself. Submitted by Fifty-Niner, 7 April 2012.

Recycled Newsprint. At 17:36 we see the front page of the San Francisco Tribune. Tucked beneath the Wilma Gregson article is an old standby, "American Mining Expert Asks British Citizenship - By The Associated Press - LONDON (Special)". This article really was news on July 18, 1933! See Trivia Ep#67. Added by Gary Woloski, 3/11/13.
+That paper was the second San Francisco newspaper seen in the series. In episode 102 TCOT Clumsy Clown a headline was shown on the front page of the San Francisco Dispatch and Douglas Henderson was in that story. Added by H. Mason 11/24/14

CARS. (1) Paul's NEW 1962 Thunderbird Convertible, top down, black. When the police appear at 13:09, Paul's car can be seen to be a 1962 TBird by the three decorative plates on each rear quarter panel. The '61 TBird had a stack of four horizontal darts.

  • (2) Matt Clark's 1962 Buick Electra 225 4-Door HardTop, medium color with white roof. Matt & Doris are going on a date. After Doris ("Mrs Thatcher") leaves daughter Jill with baby-sitter Karen Ross, Matt is waiting in his Buick at the end of Karen's front walk. Matt opens the door for Doris by stretching across from the driver's seat (11:55).

Background Cars. The opening shot of Golden Gate Bridge dissolves into a street scene in which Car (a) motors from Left to Right and Car (b) is parked across the street at Screen Left:

  • (a) 1954 Oldsmobile 98 2-Door Holiday Coupe 2-tone white/medium.
  • (b) 1960 Rambler Six DeLuxe 4-Door Sedan, dark body & white roof, with optional Quad Headlights ($23.50) and Outside RearView Mirror ($5.25). Rambler Six "DeLuxe" (standard Single Headlights shown) was actually the base model at $2098; even the Inside RearView Mirror was optional @ $4.95. Baseline '60 Chev Biscayne 4dr 6cyl was $2316.

Three Yellow Cab Co taxis are at the Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St, San Francisco (17:16):

Paul got a new car. What about Perry? Stay tuned! Added by Gary Woloski, 3/13/13.

This was the fourth of six episodes where the three main characters (defendant, victim, killer) were female. The first three were episodes 30,31,37. The last two are episodes 153 and 204. Submitted by H. Mason 9/26/14

Does anyone know the source of the quote Wright King says at the hospital? It begins "the years we waste and the tears we waste". Submitted by W. Jones 7/11/16

"Oh, the years we waste and the tears we waste" is from "The Vampire" by Rudyard Kipling...MikeM. 10/18/2016

This is the first of two PM appearances for Diane Mountford, who was a cast member of a television series, Assignment: Underwater, in 1960-1961...MikeM. 10/18/2016

This is the only PM appearance for Chrystine Jordan, who appeared in three episodes of "My Three Sons"...MikeM. 1/24/2017

Comments Edit

When Paul Drake is staking out the Thatcher house, he is sitting in his snazzy new convertible, with the top down, on the same side of the street as the Thatcher house, in full view of everyone, including Doris Thatcher and Karen Ross (true, it is dark). He even walks right past Doris Thatcher on his way up to Karen Ross' house! I'm no private detective, but this makes no sense (except as a plot device). And we see the trouble this gets Paul into. And how were the police able to sneak up on him like that? Very sloppy work on Paul's part. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 10/18/2013.
When introducing Karen Ross's shoe into evidence, the prosecuter states that there was blood "on the instep", however, the shoe is a pump and, therefore, has no instep. jfh 18Oct2016.
At 40 minutes into the DVD, the prosecuting attorney questions Peter Gregson about some letters. He says that they were written by his daughter, Sandra Gregson but the letters he reads were written to Sandra Gregson, not by Sandra Gregson. Submitted by BobwloCB, 10/6/2014.

Bad Lighting: At the airport, when Peter went to the phone booth, there were shadows on the background screen from people behind Ben Willoughby. Submitted by H. Mason 11/24/14

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