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#182: The Case of the
Nebulous Nephew
Original Airdate: 09/26/63

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (Revised)
Perry defends a seaman with two names who’s been switching identities with another man.

Credits Edit

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

Opening

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

Trailing

Directed by Arthur Marks
Written by Jonathan Latimer
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

Music composed and conducted by Van Cleave

Cast

Beulah Bondi as Sophia Stone
Ron Starr as John Brooks
Kate Manx as Irene Stone
Mark Roberts as Wayne Jameson
Hugh Marlowe as Ernest Stone
Ivan Dixon as Caleb Stone
Meg Wyllie as Nineveh Stone
Arthur Space as Leonard
Irene Tedrow as Sister Theresa
Kenneth MacDonald as Judge
William Woodson as Coroner’s Physician
Linda Marshall as Young Nun
Kathy Willow as Stewardess

Crew

[TBA]

Trivia Edit

Veteran movie actress Beulah Bondi makes her only Perry appearance here playing Sophia Stone. She made a living playing Jimmy Stewart’s mother. Ms. Bondi played Jimmy Stewart’s mother 5 times—4 times in movies and once in his television show. Submitted by PaulDrake33, 16 September 2009.

Meg Wyllie was in the Star Trek pilot, “The Cage” (1966) as the Talosian Keeper. Submitted by Steve-O, 11/18/2009.

The new season begins with an appearance by the Curious Coffee Set, from which the mysterious seaman pretends to sip as he waits for Great-Aunt Sophia. Submitted by gracenote, 2/11/2011.

Sightings: Both Quiet Old Man #1 and Distinguished Gentleman #1 appear in the courtroom: the former as a spectator and the latter as court reporter. Submitted by gracenote, 2/12/2011.

Alas, Neither D.A. Burger not Lt. Tragg appears in this episode, notwithstanding the billing. Submitted by gracenote, 2/12/2011.
+ Correction: Actually, yes, Hamilton Burger is the prosecuting trial attorney in this episode. Submitted by cgraul, 9/22/2011.

Goof: Perry’s “wireless” intercom box is missing from its usual place on the desk in the office scene with Nineveh Stone. Somewhat later, after Paul enters through the side door, the intercom has returned. Submitted by daveb, 4/14/2011.

Location: Double duty. The house the two sisters live in appears to be the same house the rich lady from “TCOT Bullied Bowler” lives in. Maybe it’s a timeshare. The window patterns are different but check out the 2 very unique and unusual hanging lanterns by the front door. Also on the nightime scenes the porch light is in exactly the same place. The house is probably in Hancock Park which is again close to the studio. Submitted by Eric Cooper, 28 April 2011.

Location: I found the house! It’s at 357 Lorraine Blvd in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. It was originally built in 1898 for Issac Newton Van Nuys who developed much of the San Fernando Valley. The house is about 12,000 sq ft and looks exactly the same. Even has the same unique porch light after 50 years. Submitted by Eric Cooper, 6 June 2011. Pictures here.

At the beginning, Ernest announces the aunts’ ages as 72 for Sophia and 70 for Ninevah. The actual ages of the actresses, respectively: 74 and 46! You can tell the age difference if you look closely. Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 8/23/2011.

SEASON SEVEN PREMIERE! In Season 6, our favourite show aired Thursdays, 8:00-9:00 PM. On Thursday 26 September 1963 the THE NEW YORK TIMES (page 70) ran a half-page-width ad for that evening's Season 7 Premiere of Perry Mason on CBS:

{a large, very noirish Al Hirschfeld caricature of Perry Mason appears here, above the text}

2     NEW TIME!                                                                 ☺= CBS Eye
PERRY MASON 9:00-10:00 PM
Raymond Burr takes complete command in the courtroom (and in millions
of living rooms) with a thrilling new season premiere tonight. As the legendary
Erle Stanley Gardner's attorney-detective, he uncovers a swindling plot
that backfires into murder in the "Case of the Nebulous Nephew."

The Hirschfeld caricature, 5"w x 4¼"h, is very similar to this, without the bow tie but with Perry's left hand (pinkie-ring on) holding an early-20th-Century phone receiver up to his ear; a link to the image in the ad is in the "STARS' ADDRESS" Comment below. The NYT daily program listing (same issue, page 71) was:

9-10 -- Perry Mason defends a young man accused of killing an accomplice in fraud, "The Case of the Nebulous Nephew." Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, Ron Starr, others (season's premiere) - (2).

The Hirschfeld-enhanced ad was just one of many in the CBS Network's "The Stars' Address is CBS!" campaign of 1963. See Comments section below. Added by Gary Woloski, 11/21/13.

CARS. Buick's new Riviera debuted in Oct '62 and we finally get to see one in this episode!

  • (1) Ernest Stone's dark-colored 1963 Buick Riviera, Licence Number 4Y5 MFG 015. Read the Apr 63 MOTOR TREND Road Test. Riviera came only as a 2-door hardtop at $4333. It was intended to compete with Ford Thunderbird ($4321) in the Personal Luxury Car niche. Prices are at factory for base '63 model. Compare: '63 Chevy Biscayne 2dr Sedan 6-Cyl was $2322. More on the Riviera project in Comments section below.
  • (2) A 1963 Ford Galaxie 4-Door Sedan TAXI drops Perry and Paul off at "St Mary's Home for Children" in Charleston SC. The taxi is white with wide inverted-V stripes along the lower body, as if the car had originally been painted as some kind of emergency vehicle. The dark licence plate might actually be authentic 1963 SC.

The unusual plate on Ernest's Riviera is barely seen at 31:59. I couldn't make it out until I noticed that the MOTOR TREND test car had the same type, a "Manufacturers" (MFG) plate. See California "Occupational" Plates. Further examples: 56-pattern and 2012 Dealer (DLR) plates. This is the first Occupational Plate that I've noticed in the series but I now think that there could have been one or two earlier appearances that I misidentified as Exempt Plates. Added by Gary Woloski, 12/17/13.

37 Selected Once Again: Note the appearance of the most commonly-selected supposedly-random two-digit number, 37, at 6:25 when John Brooks returns $37, the residue of Caleb's assets, to the elderly aunts. -Submitted by 10-year-old-fan, 2 January 2014.

PLANES: The 4-engine jet that flies Perry and Paul to South Carolina at 23:50 appears to be an American Airlines Boeing 707-123B. If anyone knows more about planes than I do, feel free to correct me. -Submitted by 10-year-old-fan, 2 January 2014.

Comments Edit

On the phone, Irene mentions her husband is in Ithaca, NY, at trapshooting contest. Ithaca is where they used to make Ithaca Guns (shotguns, that is), which Annie Oakley used. The brand still exists but the factory has been destroyed, replaced by a parking lot for student housing for Cornell Unversity. Many students and townies walk or drive along the rather steep Gun Hill Road, where the abandoned factory sat, decaying and probably polluting the groundwater, on their way to campus. Though long an eyesore, its demise is kind of sad, too. The smokestack that says “Ithaca Gun” is still there, however. Submitted by gracenote, 2/11/2011.

Two thumbs up for Della Street’s spiffy new hairdo on this first episode of the new season. Submitted by gracenote, 2/11/2010. + DellaFan also approves! Submitted by DellaFan, 11/21/2013.

Kate Manx, the episodes “babe,” died the year after this show aired at the young age of only 34. Submitted by cgraul, 9/22/2011.

On the DVD release of Season 7 Part 1, the credits which run at the end of this episode are actually the credits for episode #233, TCOT Sad Sicilian. Submitted by alan_sings, 8/21/2012.

+At 50:20, you can even see the copyright date as MCMLXV (1965). That was quite a goof by the DVD manufacturer. Thanks, Alan, for finding the episode the credits were lifted from. - Submitted by 10-year-old-fan, 2 January 2014.

Season 7 (63-64) is the last one for "Perry Mason" in the Top 30 ratings. It came in at #26 for the season. Submitted by Bill-W2XOY on 08/01/2013.
+ The new tv season "will not be better than last year's or any any other year before. . . . The critics will pan most shows, deplore their low intellectual content and applaud those that uplift the mind. . . . Viewers will stay away from these latter in droves." - SPONSOR magazine 16 September 1963 (8MB pdf download), page 58. Added by Gary Woloski, 11/22/13.

"THE STARS' ADDRESS IS CBS!" was CBS TV Network's slogan for the 1963-1964 season. The network ran an impressive series of ads for the season's premieres in THE NEW YORK TIMES from Sunday 22 September to Sunday 6 October 1963 (dates inclusive, no ads on 3 & 5 Oct). The "STARS' ADDRESS" slogan headed the section of ads for each evening's premieres. The ad for each show was about 1/8 of a page in size and incorporated a large (approx 4"x 5") Al Hirschfeld caricature of the star(s). The Network's line-up and the ad campaign itself were featured in the SPONSOR magazine issue of 16 September 1963 (8MB pdf download), pages 23-33, with ten pages of montages of the Hirschfeld drawings. The Mason caricature is on Thursday night's page 28.
      The SPONSOR montages only include selected details from the ads. You won't be disappointed if you take time to view the full originals in the NYT issues at your public library's microfilm archive (the microfilm viewers are easy to use but if you have a problem, a librarian can give you a demo in a couple of minutes!). You'll notice that the HIRSCHFELD signature block is absent from most of these ads; it only appears in the 30 Sep and 1, 2, 4, and 6 Oct issues. The later dates tend to be reprises of the previous week's ad but are worth looking at (eg, Wed 2 Oct has Danny Kaye head-to-toe rather than just waist-up and Sun 6 Oct has Judy Garland with critics' comments from the previous Sunday's premiere, both Hirschfeld-signed). Hirschfeld's characterizations of the stars in these ads are generally like those in authorized reproductions available today but the the drawings are distinctly different; an obvious example is the phone receiver that Perry is holding in the STARS' ADDRESS drawing. There are quite a few "NINA"s to be spotted! (bonus: Nina's Revenge)
      In my opinion, these CBS ads with the Hirschfeld caricatures completely demolish the visibility of NBC's (lame) "Another Big Night on NBC This Fall" ads in the same days' newspapers.
      It seems that reproductions of the drawings in these ads are not available (Pity!). The only free internet record of them that I can find is in SPONSOR magazine. Added by Gary Woloski, 11/26/13.
NEW YORK TIMES page references LATE CITY EDITION (number of shows on page is in brackets): * Sun 22 Sep sect2 p21 (1) * Mon 23 Sep p58 (2) * Tues 24 Sep p78 (4) * Wed 25 Sep p86 (4) * Thurs 26 Sep p70 (4) * Fri 27 Sep p58, full page (8 incl Sat's 4) * Sat 28 Sep p44 (4) * Sun 29 Sep sect2 p18, full page (7)   * Mon 30 Sep p56 (6) * Tues 1 Oct p79 (1) * Wed 2 Oct p83 (1) * Fri 4 Oct p71 (1) * Sun 6 Oct sect2 p21 (2).

Buick Riviera was born in General Motors Project XP-715, by which GM aimed to take on Ford Thunderbird in the Personal Luxury Car niche. Since 1958, Thunderbird had been able to define its own market and enjoy a free ride in it without any significant US-built competition. GM Management offered XP-715 to its five Divisions. Cadillac and Chevrolet, already at capacity, declined. Buick, with declining sales and unused capacity needed a boost with a prestige project and took it on. Pontiac joined the Deliberate Attack on TBird from the lower price range with its new Grand Prix in 1962 ($3490), even re-styling it with sharper body lines and dropping in bucket seats as standard the next year: 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix (still $3490). Read this excellent & comprehensive (8-page) account of the XP-715/Riviera project at howstuffworks.com. Thunderbird total model-year output, all models, dropped from 78,011 for 1962 to 63,313 for 1963 but rebounded in 1964 to 92,465. Riviera production was an even 40,000 (1963) and 37,958 (1964). Grand Prix production was 30,195 (1962), 72,959 (!963) and 63,810 (1964). Added by Gary Woloski, 12/18/13.

CARS: On a personal note, the 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 (very similar to the TAXI) was our family car as I was growing up. My dad was a Perry Mason fan. Perhaps the product placement really was effective! -Submitted by 10-year-old-fan, 2 January 2014.
+Just to be clear: The TAXI, Car(2) is a Galaxie, which has one trim line on the body side. The next level up was the Galaxie 500 with a double trim line plus seven hash marks just forward of the taillights. GSW.
+Thanks for the correction! My family car had the seven hash marks of a Galaxie 500, but the rear taillights of the Taxi look very much as I remember them. 10yearoldfan 18 January 2014

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