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<< Mischievous Doll | Episodes | Fatal Fortune >>

#242: The Case of the
Laughing Lady
Original Airdate: 09/12/65

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
In this episode, Perry proves at last that murder is no laughing matter.

A judge asks Perry to defend a self-destructive young woman named Carla Chaney, who is being held for the murder of Gerald Havens, a smalltime art critic. The woman has led a troubled life and refuses to trust anyone. It’s not surprising that no one believes her story about the fatal night when Havens was stabbed to death. Carla claims she saw a woman standing over the body laughing in a high-pitched, maniacal tone. Moreover, later Carla says she saw the woman on television during the grand opening of the Devore Gallery. The other woman is Leona Devore, a well-known member of the jet set.

Through it all, Perry believes Carla. To get her acquitted, he has to find out who really did the laughing.

Credits Edit

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

Opening

Starring Raymond Burr
in The Case of THE LAUGHING LADY
Based upon characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman

Trailing

Directed by Jesse Hibbs
Written by Orville H. Hampton
Arthur Marks \ Art Seid | Producers
Gail Patrick Jackson | Executive Producer
Ernest Frankel | Story Consultant
Orville H. Hampton| Associate Story Consultant
Raymond Burr as Perry Mason
Barbara Hale as Della Street
William Hopper as Paul Drake
William Talman as Hamilton Burger
Richard Anderson as Lt. Steve Drumm
Dan Tobin as Terrence Clay

Music Composed and Conducted by Leigh Harline

Cast

Constance Towers as Leona Devore
Jean Hale as Carla Chaney
John Abbott as Dr. Durwood Tobey
Bernard Fox as Peter Stange
John Dall as Roan Daniel
Allison Hayes as Cho Sin
Mickey Manners as Lenny Linden
John Gallaudet as Judge
Shirley O'Hara as Superintendent
Michael Rye as Commentator
Irene Anders as Matron

Uncredited Actors

Don Anderson { as Guest at Charity Function
as Courtroom Spectator
(spotted by FredK, added by gracep 12/3/2010)

Crew

Director of Photography … John M. Nickolaus, Jr.
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 … Bob Wolfe, Evelyn Carruth
Set Decoration … Carl Biddiscombe
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … Hazel W. Hall
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner
Perry Mason
Produced by the CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions

Trivia Edit

When Perry goes in to have his first talk with Carla Cheney, she is “under restraint” for causing a disturbance in the jail the night before. We see her in a bed, wrists tied to the bed frame and her arms tightly covered by a restraining sheet. Carla spits venom throughout the interview and toward the end they cut to her and her arms are on top of the restraining sheet (wrists still tied). In the final cut of the scene, Carla’s arms are once again safely tucked beneath the restraining sheet. Submitted by Elsie of the Perry_Mason Yahoo Group, 5/13/2008.

Bernard Fox makes his only Perry appearance here playing Peter Stange. Bernard Fox was the only actor to appear in both the first Titanic movie, A Night To Remember (1958) and the 1997 version of Titanic. He also played the character of Dr. Bombay in three different television shows: Bewitched, Tabitha, and the soap opera Passions. But I will forever remember him for his character of Malcolm Merryweather on The Andy Griffith Show. Submitted by PaulDrake 33, 18 August 2009.
+The Welsh-born actor appeared in 2 Columbos: as Purser Watkins in "Troubled Waters" & Detective Chief Superintendent Durk of Scotland Yard in "Dagger of the Mind" [IMDb]. Mike Bedard 2.9.15.

Ravishing beauty Allison Hayes makes her fifth and final appearance on Perry Mason as "Cho Sin" a decidedly non-Asian playing an Asian role. What's more interesting is that there was no attempt outside of her wardrobe to make her Asian nor did she attempt any accent. In fact, I was completely unaware that her character was supposed to be Asian until I heard her character called "Cho Sin". Submitted by Kenmore 9/20/12

This is like a reunion episode of prior Perry Mason actors. There was the always classy Constance Towers, Jean Hale, John Abbott, and John Dall. Submitted by Perry Baby 12/28/16

Uncredited Actors: Don Anderson remains on the scene as the ninth season begins. He first appears as a tuxedo wearing guest at one of the art gallery functions where Mr. Stange, after welcoming Perry and Della, saunters over to banter with him and a woman companion. Later, Anderson can be seen over Burger’s shoulder in the courtroom gallery. Submitted by FredK. 3 December 2010.

Sightings: Seated in the back row of the courtroom gallery is a recurring extra we call Quiet Old Man #1. Submitted by gracenote, 5/9/2011.
+I believe Miss Carmody is in the gallery, shown as a bit blurry on the long shots when Perry is speaking, but I think it is her wearing a hat. ;-> Submitted by mesave31, 02/16/15.

This is one of the few episodes in which the murder victim is not shown. Submitted by Mason Jar, 8/17/2011.

This is the first of fifteen PM writing credits for Orville Hampton, who would later have five writing credits on "The New Perry Mason" television series...MikeM. 3/6/2017

Comments Edit

The show definitely has a different feel to it from the earlier seasons. It is noticeably lighter, with a great deal of comic relief. The incidental music is different, the theme music is revamped, and all trace of film noir is gone.

It's rare that Perry has a jury to play to, and in this episode he displays his talent in engaging the panel during a cross-examination. Submitted by francis, 3/18/13.

Listen closely to the testimony of Leona Devore (Constance Cummings) and Peter Stange (Bernard Fox). During Perry’s cross examination of Devore she says “I ran back to the car and started off…and then, as the lights swept across the house, I heard her laugh, a mad hysterical laugh.” It was, of course, the laugh of the Mynah bird. Later, during Perry’s questioning of Stange, we learn that the bird “was outside where you left him when you heard Leona Devore’s car coming.” These two accounts don’t jibe but no one in court seemed to notice. Submitted by Charles Richmond, 7/27/2003.
+ The whole mynah bird aspect of the story is really confusing and frustrating to me. Why would anyone put a live bird in a supposedly rare antique cage? Even if it was a fake, you would think that they would want to avoid having a bird soiling it. And where was the bird when we saw the cage at the opening at the art gallery on TV? And where was the bird when Perry looked at the cage when he visited the gallery? Submitted by Neil Van Zile, 6/27/2014

For the first show of season 9 (not sure filming order), it did have a different feel than season 8. Raymond appears to have lost weight and appeared less burdened than the prior season. He was engaged in the story from the beginning unlike the prior season. I think one aspect that dates Perry Mason shows is all the shows involving Victorian (?) mansions. It is now the mid-60s. Perry Baby 12/3/13

+One might assume (perhaps incorrectly) that the production numbers given at the end of the episode indicate the production order. In that case this episode is the fifth-produced episode of the season:

0831 The 12th Wildcat (aired October 31)
0832 The Runaway Racer (November 14)
0833 The Cheating Chancellor (October 3)
0834 The Fatal Fortune (September 19)
0835 The Laughing Lady (September 12)
0836 The Candy Queen (September 26)
0837 The Impetuous Imp (October 10)
etc. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 12/9/13.

"In 1900 a crisis erupted in China as the 'Boxers' increased their resistance to foreign influence and presence...US Marines participated in several actions in China...3 officers who served in the Boxer Rebellion went on to become Commandants of the Marine Corps" www.archives.gov observes ("US Marines in the Boxer Rebellion" Prologue Magazine Winter 1999). Mike Bedard 2.9.15.

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