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#249: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 10/31/65
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (Revised)
Bill Williams makes his final appearance on Perry Mason playing a losing football coach named Burt Payne. Burt and his wife, Ellen, own the Wildcats professional football team. Burt wants to sell his 10 percent ownership to a group of investors and even gets a down payment from them. However, Burt needs his wife’s approval, and she is not interested. After Ellen meets with one of the buyers aboard a train, Burt is apparently killed in an explosion.
The episode climaxes with a chase scene filmed at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Perry actually runs as he and Paul pursue a shadowy figure who provides the key to the case.
Youngish members of the L.A. Rams, including well-known quarterback Roman Gabriel, appear as themselves throughout the episode. Character actor Karl Swenson wins the award for “Worst Imitation of an Eastern European Accent in a Dramatic Series.”
Starring Raymond Burr
in The Case of THE 12 WILDCAT
Based upon characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman
Directed by Jesse Hibbs
Written by Ernest Frankel
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. Drumm
Music | Richard Shores
Mona Freeman as Ellen Payne
Bill Williams as Burt Payne
Regis Toomey as Andy Grant
John Conte as Jud Warner
Karl Swenson as Unk Hazekian
Robert Quarry as Casey Banks
Roy Roberts as Harvey Skeen
Clark Howat as Team Doctor
Willis Bouchey as Judge
George Cisar as Bartender
Ivy Bethune as Mrs. Frye
Tommy Farrell as Reporter
Patrick Riley as Police Officer
Lee Miller as Sgt. Brice
Sue England as Receptionist
Howard Wright as Conductor
Lindon Crow as Assistant Coach
Joe Scibelli as Himself
Bill Munson as Himself
Don Chuy as Himself
Roman Gabriel as Himself
Cliff Livingston as Himself
Marlin McKeever as Himself
Mel Profit as Ski
Paul Power as Reporter
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 … Marshall Schlom
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner
Produced by the CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions
At 25 (in addition to the principal cast), this episode has the largest credited cast size of the series. Submitted by daveb, 5/1/2007.
Near the end of the episode, Lt. Drumm stands at one of the exit tunnels watching Perry and Paul as the crowd files past him. Don Anderson, with his familiar hairstyle and the thick-rimmed spectacles he often wore in the later episodes, is just barely recognizable among the football fans. Submitted by FredK 21 April 2012.
Richard Anderson appeared in 26 original Perrys (as Lt. Drumm, a state senate candidate & a corporate VP), "The New Perry Mason: TCOT Telltale Trunk," "PERRY MASON RETURNS," 5 Ironsides, 7 FBIs & a Wild, Wild West [IMDb]. Mike Bedard 2.14.15.
I spotted Miss Carmody in the court (back row) and also the young brunette (front row near end). Perry Baby 12/15/13
It sounded like "Receptionist" Sue England was also the operator's voice at the beginning of 12th Wildcat. She was in 5 Perrys & voiced a "Female Robot"/"Space Control Officer" in "Lost In Space" & a "Woman's Voice" in "The Death Watch" episode of "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea" (Uncredited) [IMDb]. Mike Bedard 2.18.l5.
There's something unusual about today's title....give up?? It's the only one of the 271 in which the subject is Perry himself; (Paul and Hamilton were also subjects of other titles, but Della was never so honored.) Oberved by Notcom, 060916.
This cameo is the only PM appearance for Roman Gabriel. He would later play "Lt. Holloway" in one episode of "Ironside"...MikeM. 3/15/2017
This is the only PM appearance for Ivy Bethune, who was born in Russia and might be turning 100 this year...MikeM. 3/21/2018
When her husband falls down drunk, Ellen asks the team to do what you should never do from someone with a drinking problem, namely, clean him up and put him to bed. Then to compound the problem, she asks the coach to give him tranquilizers as they carry him to his berth. What were people thinking? Submitted by gracenote, 5/19/2011.
How did Burt come into ownership of 10% of the team?
The Summary claims that “Perry actually runs as he and Paul chase a shadoway figure,“ but in fact that is probably Lee Miller, Burr’s stand-in, who jumps out of the bushes. It’s kind of confusing because it appears to be Sgt. Brice who is doing the chasing at first, and then it becomes Perry Mason. Submitted by graceote, 5/19/2011.
Speaking of Sgt. Brice, the producers gave Lee Miller a little tribute in this episode. In a moment unrelated to anything in the script, Sgt. Brice drops by the table in Clay's Grill where Perry, Paul and Della are sitting and flirts a bit with Della. A brief and most charming gesture. Submitted by francis, 3/28/13.
In the opening scene I expected to hear the conductor call out "Anaheim, Azusa, and Cu----camonga!"
The Wildcats will play before a very large crowd in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Earlier, their return trip to LA started from somewhere north of Salinas (like San Francisco?). Given their prosperity and evident length of the trip, why did they go by train rather than by plane? This was of course necessary for a nifty if far-fetched plot contrivance, and it reminded me of "Double Indemnity" -- "He'll have to go by train." Submitted by (lowercase, with a comma and period) masonite, 07/07/13.
+ Early on in the episode the Coach Banks mentions to Mrs. Payne that Burt Payne had made the decision to take the train instead of a plane. This would have been in his purview as team manager and makes sense when we find out what really happened. Submitted by Neil Van Zile, 07/03/14
++ Trying to think like a writer, I'm guessing that if they had taken a plane rather than a train, they would all have been belted in, or at least seated, and the trip would have been shorter, without all that time for mischief, hopping on and off, etc. Also the viewer would have been denied the classic train montage. JohnK, 21 March 2018
+++Looks like the Wildcats attracted a sellout crowd for their game! And, that crowd really knew how to clear out of the area so quickly after the game's conclusion. Paul Drake's chase scene showed so few people around that end of the LA Memorial Coliseum grounds. Bob61571, 21 March 2018
This episode, as in #241 Mischievous Doll, depends on how the Los Angeles police identify a burned body. However, unlike #241, this episode's body is not the remains of a comparative nobody but of a co-owner of a major professional football team. Given the notoriety, why aren't the police more careful and thorough in their identification? Submitted by (lowercase, with a comma and period) masonite, 07/07/13.
+ The identification, you might recall, was based on a number of factors - the presence of personal effects, the statements of witnesses, and (presumably) a physical resemblance of the remains to Burt - which in real life would be accurate 999,999 times out of a million; so whether/not they would - or more importantly whether/not they should go further, is debatable. Of course in this perryllel world, the absurd, one-in-a-million can be counted on to happen. Defended by Notcom, 060916.
+ Also, on the moving train, there were a limited number of people, of whom only two were unaccounted for, the remains were pretty badly destroyed, and it was the supposed victim's room. Had this happened somewhere like a hotel, where the "victim pool" was unbounded, they might have felt it was important to be more thorough. olef641 - June 27, 2017
Perry's theory for how the fire started could easily have been checked by examining the train compartment.
"The Birlstone Gambit." The solution to the crime is a variation on what has come to be known as "The Birlstone Gambit," for its original use in one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's more famous Holmes stories. Ellery Queen employed it in several EQ and Drury Lane novels in the 1930s, as did ESG in "The Case of the One-Eyed Witness." Unfortunately, the gambit has become such a staple of whodunit fiction that it no longer manages to surprise mystery buffs. Submitted by BobH, 20 February 2017.