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<< Laughing Lady | Episodes | Candy Queen >>

#243: The Case of the
Fatal Fortune
Original Airdate: 09/19/65

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Pat Kean is a levelheaded career woman who goes to see an astrological fortune teller for a lark—but the predictions begin to come true. For one thing, Max Armstead, her kindly but much older boss, proposes to her.

The mystic predicted Pat would “wear white, then widow’s black.” Pat marries Max, prediction or not. But things begin to work out badly. Max gets a letter saying that Pat is running around on him, even though she isn’t. Then Max’s heart condition gets more critical and he dies. But it wasn’t a heart attack. In full view of Perry and Lt. Drumm, Max says, “She poisoned me!” then collapses. He’s dead of an overdose of digitalis.

Burger gets an indictment against Pat for first-degree murder. Perry has to dig through the supernatural to solve the case.

Credits Edit

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

Opening

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

Trailing

Directed by Arthur Marks
Written by William Bast
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 Richard Shores

Cast

Julie Adams as Patricia L. Kean
Lee Philips as Gordon Evans
Jesse White as Max Armstead
Ford Rainey as Dr. Fisher
Nan Martin as Beth Fuller
Dean Harens as Daniel Buckley
James Lanphier as Marius Stone
Grandon Rhodes as Judge
Nora Marlowe as Landlady
Alex Bookston as Desk Clerk
Belle Mitchell as Gypsy

Uncredited Actors
Joe Ploski as Courtroom Spectator (from IMDb)

Don Anderson as { Wedding Guest
Courtroom Spectator
(spotted by FredK 1/1/2011)

Robert Wegner as Restaurant Patron (spotted by gracenote 1/21/2013)

Crew

Director of Photography … John M. Nickolaus, Jr.
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Gordon A. Webb
Film Editor … Richard W. Farrell
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

Anomaly: James Lamphier, listed at Marius Stone, is called Marius Stowe. Submitted by daveb, 12/21/2007.

Uncredited Actors: Don Anderson appears in two, or possibly three, roles in this episode. Early on, he’s among the guests at the wedding of Pat and Max. The second possible appearance is at Pat’s office when she returns from her honeymoon. As Pat gets off the elevator, he appears to be a man getting on, but he’s seen from three-quarters behind making this only a possible. At the trial, Don’s among the spectators in the first row behind the prosecution table. Submitted by FredK, 1 January 2011.
+ Robert Wegner is sitting in the circular booth behind Paul Drake at a restaurant scene. Submitted by gracenote, 1/21/2013.

During Pat’s getaway in LaJolla, one cup of the Curious Coffee Set makes an appearance in her hotel room. Oh, the things that Coffee Set has seen! Submitted by FredK, 1 January 2011.

Sightings: Sitting in the courtroom gallery are a fidgety Pencil Mustache Man and a Quiet Old Man (#1)—the former clearest in cutaways to the fortune teller and the latter in cutaways to Ms. Fuller. Submitted by gracenote, 5/10/2011.
+ "Miss Carmody" appears briefly as a waitress who brings coffee to the patrons sitting behind Perry and Paul in a restaurant.

Jesse White would go on to “fame” as the bored “Maytag® Repair Man” who never got a service call. Submitted by cgraul, 9/14/2011.

Ford Rainey appeared in 1 Ironside & 5 FBI episodes [IMDb]. He played the President of the United States twice in "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" & "Lost in Space." Mike Bedard 2.9.15.

There is a cinematic error (generally an cutting editor's faux pas) where the camera "crossed the line" - it flipped angles. It happened where Perry is cross examining Gordon Evans on the witness stand for the second time for the finale. Evans is looking left in the initial exchanges so the camera is on the right side of Perry then it switches to Perry's shot and the camera is now on the left side so the line of sight between Perry and Gordon was crossed. Submitted by Perry Baby 11/28/16.

Comments Edit

While many PM episodes are often hard to follow, this one really eludes me. I could not for the life of me see what the motive of the two killers was since it was made very clear that the son was written out of the will, and his cohort also had nothing to gain from the death of the owner. It was an entertaining episode, but I saw no motive at all for the killers. Submitted by dickieC, Apr 24, 2013

This may be a reflection of William Bast's unfamiliarity with the PM oeuvre. Although he had written for several shows, and would go on to scribe many more, this was is first foray into PM cases. (Incidentally, he was also James Dean's "boyfriend" at the time of Dean's death.) cgraul 5.6.14

I don't know if the episode actually made the points or not, but thinking back on it, I feel like the killers killed Max and framed Pat, knowing that Pat couldn't inherit Max's estate if convicted which would throw the will into probate. That's not really such an uncommon motive in murder mysteries. Submitted by DyNama, 2014.05.09.

I think it's inferred the son is unaware of the disinheritance, since much is made of the fact that he was in Brazil and had no contact for several years. Indeed, the provision of "leaving him a dollar" is to preclude him contesting the will if/when he should learn of its provisions. Submitted by Notcom, 060316.

What I find disturbing is Max' change of behavior: he becomes controlling and paranoid. He told her while courting that he knew she wasn't in love with him, and that was okay, but he didn't want her love, he wanted her obedience. Pat may not have known of this side of Max but the killers counted on it and fanned the flames. We were not told, however, why he thought she wanted to murder him--we don't know how much time elapsed but surely they were still in the honeymoon stage. Submitted by DyNama, 2014.05.09.

Although post-trial get-togethers are de rigueur for the office staff - sometimes Burger and/or Tragg even show up - it isn't often that the defendant will join in for a full dinner...but why shouldn't Pat come along ??? Other than the fact that her best friend and her "Prince Charming" conspired to murder her husband (the latter's father) and she'll be stuck with a hefty legal bill, what's not to celebrate ??? Pondered by Notcom, 060316.

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