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#181: The Case of the
Witless Witness
Original Airdate: 05/16/63

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
The story starts with Perry actually losing a case. More accurately, he’s losing an appeal. Though the details are never discussed, the first scene sets up Perry’s relationship with the sitting appellate judge, a man named Daniel Redmond.

Redmond is up for the nomination for lieutenant governor. But he learns that Martin Weston, a hopeless alcoholic, will testify that the judge was involved in a plot to defraud the government back in 1943.

Things get really complicated when the charges soon include homicide, as Weston is found poisoned and Redmond is arrested.

Several of TV’s familiar faces appear in this episode, including David White (Betwitched), Jackie (“Uncle Fester”) Coogan, and Florida Friebus, who played the mother in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

With its unusual, well-played plot, and some more dramatic than usual music and highly atmospheric lighting—especially in scenes that take place in the judge’s chambers—this is one of the best episodes of the Mason series and a fitting end to the show’s 1962-63 season.

Credits Edit

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

Opening

Starring Raymond Burr
in The Case of THE WITLESS WITNESS
Based upon characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins

Trailing

Directed by Arthur Marks
Teleplay by Samuel Newman
Story by Marshall Houts and Samuel Newman
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
Wiliam Talman as Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg
Wesley Lau as Lt. Anderson

Cast

Robert Middleton as Judge Daniel Redmond
David White as Victor Kendall
Jackie Coogan as Gus Sawyer
Steve Brodie as Quinn Torrey
Florida Friebus as Marian Lamont
Rita Lynn as Madge Eberly
Vaughn Taylor as Martin Weston
Lee Bergere as James Wall
Harry Holcombe as Senator Deering
Grandon Rhodes as Judge
Larry Thor as Commentator
Michael Fox as Autopsy Surgeon
Henry Hunter as Attorney
Jason Johnson as Second Senator

Uncredited Actors

Don Anderson as {   2nd Attorney
Ambulance Attendant
Coutroom Spectator

Crew

“Perry Mason”
Director of Photography … Robert G. Hager
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Gordon A. Webb
Film Editor … John D. Faure
Casting … Harvey Clermont
Makeup … Irving Pringle
Hair Stylist … Annabell
Wardrobe Supervision … Ed McDermott, Evelyn Carruth
Set Decoration … Sandy Grace
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … Cosmo Genovese
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner

Perry Mason
Produced by the CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions

Trivia Edit

Uncredited Actors: Don Anderson has a definite three-bagger (three different appearances as an extra) in this episode. First he’s seen very briefly in the scene in Judge Redmond’s courtroom as a member of the legal team that has just defeated Perry. In the second he’s one of two uniformed police or fire ambulance attendants who get the okay from Lt. Anderson and Dr. Hoxie to remove Martin Weston’s body from the murder scene. And third, he appears as a spectator in the second row behind the defense table during the trial. Submitted by FredK, 9 October 2010.

John D. Faure served regularly as film editor in this series, in over 50 episodes. According to IMDb, he died on July 7, 1963. Therefore, this is the last episode edited by Faure to air before his death. Submitted by gracenote, 2/2/2011.

Larry Thor, the news commentator in this episode, was years earlier a radio announcer for CBS. Submitted by gracenote, 2/10/2011.

Character Names: Credits omit the Autopsy Surgeon’s name, Dr. Hoxie. (And this is one of the few times we see him outside the courtroom, as he examines the body at the crime scene.) Submitted by gracenote, 2/10/2011.

Sightings: The court reporter today is Distinguished Gentleman #1, with glasses. Strangely, however, he reappears in the courtroom gallery (in a cutaway to Marian) while Dr. Hoxie testifies! Submitted by gracenote, 2/10/2011.

Lt. Arthur Tragg (Ray Collins) appears in the credits only. Submitted by gracenote, 2/10/2011.

+Hamilton Burger (William Talman) also appears in the credits only. Submitted by 10yearoldfan, 23 December 2013.

David White (Victor Kendall) is most well-known as Larry Tate, Darrin’s boss (both Darrins) in Bewitched. Submitted by cgraul, 9/22/2011.

Familiar TV face Vaughn Taylor appeared in eight PM episodes (including the very first one aired), but this is the only time he was the victim. Submitted by cgraul 9/22/2011.

This Episode has No Outdoor Scenes and NO CARS. Added by Gary Woloski, 10/18/13.

Comments Edit

It is rather enjoyable to see a judge who is the intellectual equal to Perry Mason. Indeed, Mason seems somewhat intimidated by him. It gives Mason a little more depth, makes him less of a cardboard superhero and more like a real attorney. Submitted by gracenote, 2/10/2011.

Not only does the judge match Perry’s intellect, but his heft as well! I can think of no other episode where Perry’s client seems to outweigh him. Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 8/22/2011.

If the display of clocks behind the TV newscaster looks familiar, “Airlines Oceanic Mexicana” had the same display at LAX four episodes earlier (#177, Elusive Element). Evidently this display was a popular status symbol in 1963 for companies wanting to look international. Submitted by masonite, 12/02/2011.

Victor Kendall, for one, enters a US Senate “SUB COMMITTEE [sic]” hearing room. Even in 1963 wasn’t “subcommittee” one word, the usual spelling? Archives.gov uses the one-word spelling, and I suppose that the people who ran the hearing would want to have good signage. Submitted by masonite, 12/02/2011.

Spoiler Warning! Do Not Read Below If You Have Not Seen The Episode

Given the flimsy evidence of fraud which forms the whole basis for the accusations against Judge Redmond, perhaps this episode might be a commentary about the Communist hearings of the 1950s, specifically the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, with James Wall (Lee Bergere) and Victor Kendall (David White) as McCarthyite figures. Submitted by gracenote, 7/27/2011.

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