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#166: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 01/03/63
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (Revised)
Leonard Nimoy, the world-famous Mr. Spock from the Star Trek series and movies, makes an early TV appearance in this episode.
When Sarah Breel is accused of shoplifting, Perry learns that the woman’s sticky fingers may have more to do with protecting her boozing, gambling brother, George, than with kleptomania.
Later, George’s partner Austin Culles is murdered and the police naturally suspect Sarah. Why? First of all, Sarah was hit by a car while running from the murder scene. Second, she had both the jewels and the murder weapon in her purse. To make matters worse, George winds up shot to death too. As usual, it’s up to Perry to straighten things out.
Starring Raymond Burr
in Erle Stanley Gardner’s The Case of THE SHOPLIFTER’S SHOE
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins
Directed by Arthur Marks
Teleplay by Jackson Gillis
Art Seid | Producer
Gail Patrick Jackson | Executive Producer
Jackson Gillis | Associate Producer
Samuel Newman | Story Consultant
Raymond Burr as Perry Mason
Barbara Hale as Della Street
William Hopper as Paul Drake
William Talman as Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg
Margaret O’Brien as Virginia Trent
Lurene Tuttle as Sarah Breel
Leonard Nimoy as Pete Chennery
Melora Conway as Ione Bedford
Richard Coogan as Sergeant Gifford
Arthur Batanides as Bill Golding
Blair Davies as Austin Cullens
Charles Irving as Judge
James Millhollin as Floorwalker
Shirley Mitchell as Saleswoman
Kenneth Patterson as Store Detective
Walter Kelley as Interne
Bernard Fein as Foreman
Vincent Troy as Andre (Maitre d’)
Director of Photography … Robert G. Hager
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Robert G. Stone
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 … Cosmo Genovese
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner
Produced by the CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions
Anomaly: There seems to be some confusion about the character named Austin Cullens. Through the episode he is sometimes called “Cullens” and sometimes called “Cullen.” During a final scene, with Leonard Nimoy at the water fountain, Mason has some dialog where he refers to the character both as “Cullens” and “Cullen.” Submitted by Charles Richmond, 9/21/2005 via email.
Margaret O’Brien makes her only Perry appearance here playing Virginia Trent. Margaret O’Brien was a really big child star in the 1940s. She won a juvenile Academy Award for her role at Tootie Smith in 1944 for Meet Me In St. Louis. She continues to act in 2009. Submitted by PaulDrake 33, 9 September 2009.
Sightings: The Pencil Mustache Man (PMM) appears in the courtroom gallery on the defense side, all the way in the back nearest the door. He can be seen in a cutaway of Mrs. Chennery when Burger is questioning Sgt. Gifford on the stand. Also, it appears the Quiet Old Man #1 sits opposite the PMM on the prosecution side, back row nearest the door. Submitted by Kenmore, 9/21/10.
+ But wait, there’s more! The PMM is also seen rather close-up in a cutaway to Golding (and later magically behind Virginia). And “Miss Carmody” is in the courtroom on the prosecution side, front row. During a recess, we see PMM standing around, chatting with fellow spectators while Mason, Drake, Tragg, and Burger confer—one of the few times we see him outside the courtroom. Then the PMM and “Miss Carmody” get off an elevator, while Quiet Old Man #1 gets on (apparently, that is—we only see his back). Finally, “Miss Carmody” strolls behind Burger and Mason as the D.A. admits he was wrong (again). Submitted by gracep, 1/18/2011.
+ “Miss Carmody,“ sporting black hat and gloves, also appears as a department store browser. And in a touch of dark humor, Distinguished Gentleman #1 makes a surpise cameo! Read more about all of these folks on the “Who Is That?” page. Submitted by gracenote, 7/24/2011.
This episode may cause viewers to experience a feeling of deja vu, and with good reason. Many of the elements of this case appear in episode #51, TCOT Shattered Dream. While the mystery plots are dissimilar (#166 is an up-to-a-point faithful rendering of Gardner’s novel) the names and general setting are quite similar. Both stories have backgrounds in the diamond/rare gems business. And then there are the names! Characters in #166 include Virginia Trent, Sara Breel and Ione Bedford, while #51 has its own Virginia Trent, Irene Bedford and Hans Breel (who has a wife named Sarah Werner). There were different writers on the two shows, so maybe someone in story supervision (even ESG himself) might have been having some private fun here. Submitted by FredK, 18 Nov 2010.
Character Names: The Saleswoman in the credits is Miss Fairweather. Submitted by gracep, 1/18/2011.
Uncredited Actors: There are several unacknowledged players today, including the venerable Bess Flowers and Burr’s stand-in, Lee Miller. See credits for more info. Submitted by gracep, 1/17/2011.
- Lee Miller may have made more that one appearence in this episode. At the 15:00 mark on the DVD, both Paul and Perry approach Austin Cullins home. While it was shot "day for night", it's pretty clear that it's not Raymond Burr next to William Hopper as they approach the home. It certainly looks like Lee Miller. Submitted by Kenmore 1/11/2012
+ The Australian-born Sam Harris also appears. Both he and Bess Flowers are among only four actors to appear in five movies that won the Best Picture Oscar. (Harris is not on our Uncredited Actors page yet.) Submitted by gracenote, 7/24/2011.
Location: Although probably a set, the department store name is that of a real chain that still exists: Bon-Ton! The sign is over the front door. Submitted by gracenote, 7/24/2011.
The Ubiquitous Crates: When Perry enters the locked storeroom at the Trent Company (at time 27:33 on the dvd episode), what do we find??? Look at the lower left of the frame. There, upside down, we see a crate labeled "Nathan Claver Collection, Rio de Janeiro". There is some Japanese writing along the side, probably picked up when the crates appeared in #127, TCOT Malicious Mariner. These crates really get around!!! In the current episode, the Rio de Janeiro is visible, along with the first half of the word "collection", and we can see the “N” over that. It seems these crates originally appeared in #118, Torrid Tapestry. Submitted by Charles Richmond, 10/04/2011.