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#201: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 02/27/64
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (Revised)
Chemist Randolph James has started a successful business to develop a new antibiotic. But when his former boss, Hudson Bradshaw, files suit claiming James developed the formula while working for him, it’s only the beginning of James’s problems.
His wife, Natalie, is selling her stock to Bradshaw, which will give the ex-boss control of James’s new company. There are also whispers that Natalie is having an affair with Bradshaw. Furious, James vows to stop his wife at any cost.
It’s apparently not an empty threat, as Natalie soon turns up dead. The police say James did it. James claims that he was fishing at the time of the murder. But when he can’t locate the fisherman who can back up his story, he locates Perry instead.
Starring Raymond Burr
in The Case of THE FRIGHTENED FISHERMAN
Based upon characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins
Directed by Arthur Marks
Written by Jonathan Latimer
Arthur Marks / Art Seid | Producers
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
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg
Wesley Lau as Lt. Anderson
Mala Powers as Helen Bradshaw
Connie Gilchrist as Mrs. Pennyworth
Lee Farr as Randolph James
Marian Collier as Natalie James
Ilze Taurens as Gretchen Lang
Richard Devon as Marion Devlin
Bartlett Robinson as Hudson Bradshaw
Emile Genest as Hans Lang
Bill Smith as Andy Witcoe
Connie Cezon as Gertie
Richard Cutting as Blind Fisherman
Stacy Keach as Lt. Gibson
Kort Falkenberg as Interne
Ray Walker as Fake Fisherman
Walter Stocker as 1st Police Officer
Seamon Glass as 2nd Police Officer
Richard Geary as 3rd Police Officer
Harry Strang as Lab Parking Guard
Tom Harkness as Judge
Director of Photography … Howard Schwartz, A.S.C.
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Gordon A. Webb
Film Editor … Al Clark, A.C.E
Casting … Harvey Clermont
Makeup … Irving Pringle
Hair Stylist … Annabell
Wardrobe Supervision … Ed McDermott, Evelyn Carruth
Set Decoration … Carl Biddiscombe
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … Marshall Schlom
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner
Automobiles Supplied by … Ford Motor Company
Produced by the CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions
Location: Within the first 10 minutes Natalie asks the operator to connect her to Hudson Bradshaw’s mobile car phone. As he answers his car phone, the Malibu Vet Clinic which was at 23919 Malibu Road, is visible over his left shoulder. It’s just across the street from the Malibu Colony. The shell of the vacant Vet Clinic still exists although it looks like it might blow over any minute. Just to his left as he drives is the back area of the old Colony Market which lasted until the 1980s when it was replaced by a Ralph’s market. Posted by Eric Cooper and Linda Shockley, July 27, 2009.
+ The big bluff in the background is called Malibu Bluffs Park and is the home of the Michael Landon Community Center. This same drive by location was used again when Paul Drake answers his car phone halfway through episode #226, TCOT Frustrated Folk Singer. Malibu seems to be a favorite location, probably because Raymond Burr lived there during the series. Posted by Eric Cooper and Linda Shockley, July 27, 2009. Some pictures here.
Sightings: Quiet Old Man (#1) and Pencil Mustache Man are briefly visible in the courtroom gallery at various times. More here. Submitted by daveb, 1/5/2011.
+ Distinguished Gentleman #1 joins them in observing the courtroom action. Submitted by gracenote, 2/13/2011.
The Curious Coffee Set makes another appearance, this time in a restaurant where Perry has stopped off. Submitted by FredK, 10 January 2011.
The Stacy Keach who plays Lt. Gibson is none other than the father of the Stacy Keach (Jr.) who played Mike Hammer on TV in the 1980s and 1990s. Submitted by gracenote, 2/13/2011.
English-born Thomas Holden Harkness has 2 Actor credits on IMDb: 6 Perry Mason Judges & an uncredited role in Sex and the Single Girl. Mike Bedard 3.17.15.
Ray Collins was credited but did not appear as Lt. Tragg. Barbara Hale was credited but did not appear as Della Street. We did, however, get a rare glimpse of Connie Cezon as Gertie. Submitted by gracenote, 2/13/2011.
+ FF was Della's 6th absence. Barbara was voted May Queen her Senior year in HS [IMDb]. Mike Bedard 3.18.15
Location: The Malibu beach house will be reused by Lee Meriwether in Cheating Chancellor. Submitted by Eric Cooper, 28 April 2011.
The Beach House William Smith (AKA Falconetti from Rich Man Poor Man) is in is actually the Mildred Piece house. It was at 26652 Latigo Shores Dr in Malibu but was destroyed in 1983 by a storm. Eric Cooper 28 January 2013.
CARS, in order of appearance; Cast Cars are numbered, background cars lettered. Cars (a), (1) & (b) are in the Opening Shot:
Randolph misidentifies his own car as 1950 in the dialogue. You may ignore this blooper; see "Randolph's Car" in Comments section. The remaining Cast Cars are:
Regarding the model names of Cars (1) and (3): both were in Ford's top "Custom Deluxe" line. Ford first began using the Country Squire name to refer to its top-of-the-line wagon in Spring 1950 but the name did not yet actually appear on the vehicle. The car more formally became Country Squire for the 1951 model year; the script can be seen on the doors of Randolph's Car (1). Added by Gary Woloski, 11/27/14.
Another First: This story featured the first true murder by hit-and-run. Three of the last four stories have gotten away from the usual shootings, stabbings and blows to the head. Submitted by H. Mason 3/17/15
There's a bit of Surfer Lingo at 11:39:
RANDOLPH: Hello, Andy. How's the surfing?
ANDY: Strictly from nothing. Waves even a ho-daddy wouldn't bother with.
Mainstream Americans might have been clued-in to the term "ho-daddy" by the article A Way of Life on the Wavetops in the 1 Sept 1961 issue of LIFE magazine, pp47-53. The definition was expanded in the letters section three weeks later. I believe that 1959's Gidget only had fer-real surfer dudes and no ho-daddies. The first Beach Boys single, Surfin', wasn't released until Nov '61. Added by Gary Woloski, 11/12/14.
Inconsistencies:While the 2 ladies are enjoying 3 or 4 martinis, it is very strange that when one of them looks into the telescope the ocean is to the left with the defendant fishing while the direction the telescope is aimed at in the room, the ocean is to the right...HamBurger 8/28/2016
This is the only PM appearance for Ilze Taurens, who was born in Latvia...MikeM. 1/6/2017
This is the second of two PM appearances for Marian Collier, who played Marilyn Scott on seven episodes of the television series Mr. Novak...MikeM. 1/6/2017
I am not 100% certain because of the distance of the shot, but when Mrs. James identifies a man getting out of his car as Perry Mason, it rather looks more like Distinguished Gentleman #1. Submitted by gracenote, 8/11/2011.
+ I couldn't tell either. From the way that the person walked, semi-lumbering, it seemed like Perry. To Mrs. James, however, Perry is "Mr. Mason", but he addresses her as "Natalie", not as "Mrs. James". Curious. lowercase masonite, 3/23/16.
There is a young dark-haired fellow who appears in the courtroom, and then later reappears in the courtroom scene. Submitted by gracenote, 8/11/2011.
When Lang and James are intently watching their cute little bubbling test tube, it seems strange they're not wearing any eye protection, something which would have gotten me written up by the Safety Office. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 12/6/2013.
James cracks a joke to Bradshaw about testing a "pocket-sized atom bomb," but he was more prescient than he realized; so-called "backpack," or "pocket," nukes actually have been developed. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 12/6/2013.
RANDOLPH's CAR. The dialog at 18:03 goes:
POLICE: Hit-and-run over in the colony about 40 minutes ago. '50, '51 station wagon, according to a witness.
RANDOLPH: Mine's a '50.
POLICE: Yes Mr James, so it is.
Randolph's line should have been "Mine's a '51". It is intended (by screenwriter, director & cinematographer) that the driver's identity is not explicit in the hit-and-run scene BUT there is still an error in Randolph's line. It seems that either the script wasn't coordinated with the cars or actor Lee Farr misread the line; perhaps there was confusion arising from the similarity between Cars 1 & 3. The intended ambiguity about the car & driver in the scene would not be diminished with the suggested correction. Also note that screenwriter Jonathan Latimer and goofiness regarding cars seem to go together [for examples see ep#s 149, 155 & 117 Car(g)]. Added by Gary Woloski, 11/28/14.
Given the antagonistic relationship between Hans Lang + Randolph James vs. Hudson Bradshaw, why was Fetchin' Gretchen riding around with Bradshaw in his car? Bay Shores is looking more and more like Peyton Place West. There is more than just unsafe chemistry here. lowercase masonite, 3/23/16.
In the last scene Paul said he wasn't a fisherman and needed Perry to explain why he thought the witness was a fake. Paul went fishing with Perry a few times, including episodes 12 and 131. Submitted by H. Mason 3/17/15
+He and Perry are also fishing in episode 229 TCOT Telltale Tap Submitted by HamBurger 10/10/2016.
Possible explanation: Paul went fishing with Perry, but that doesn't mean he took to it ... my wife has gone to car shows with me, but she's no gearhead like I am! Submitted by MikeReese 3/22/15
+ Answer: Beer or bait. Perry had the bait, Paul had the beer. HamBurger 8/28/2016
Question: Why did Mrs. Bradshaw wear the diamond clip when she knew Natalie was coming for drinks? Submitted by H. Mason 3/17/15
Possible Answer(s): Considering that Natalie was blackmailing her, Mrs. Bradshaw was just getting her payment out, and ready. Suppose Mr. Bradshaw had been present - she'd have had to explain why she was going into her jewelry box to get something, had Natalie hinted at her 'payment'. By wearing it, she'd need no explaining of why she had it out. Or, she just hoped this time Natalie would let her off the hook; notice that she insisted on her having another drink. Maybe to get her a bit fuzzy, so she'd forget? Submitted by MikeReese 3/22/15
+ I wonder if Mrs. Bradshaw, evidently unwilling to call Natalie's bluff, ever considered investing in less expensive baubles. However, this episode did take place about 12 years before the commercial production of cubic zirconia. lowercase masonite, 3/23/16.
The Article 1 "promote the Progress of...useful arts" clause relates to patents; "On May 22, 1849, Abraham Lincoln received Patent 6469 for a device to lift boats over shoals...which was never manufactured. However, it... made him the only...President to hold a patent," abrahamlincolnonline.org notes. Mike Bedard 3.17.15.
Could you explain more what this refers to? I didn't hear Lang-James talk about patenting their formula and process. lowercase masonite, 3/23/16.
Near the end of the trial, Perry suddenly produced an "old hat", which he claimed had inside it some hairs of the murderer. The murderer had worn the hat as a disguise while driving the hit and run vehicle. How did Perry get the hat, and how did he know whose hairs were inside it? Or was this just a successful bluff? lowercase masonite, 3/23/16.
The use of the hit and run vehicle depended not only in Randolph James abandoning his station wagon in a public parking lot for hours with the ignition key left somewhere inside the vehicle, but also on the murderer knowing about the location of the key. How did the murderer find out? Common gossip among the very-close-knit community? Granted, Randolph James could have been setting himself up with an alibi for murdering his wife -- "Lots of people knew about my leaving the key inside." (How did he feel about driving it after it was used to kill his wife?) lowercase masonite, 3/23/16.