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EpisodePages/Show258

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#258: The Case of the
Vanishing Victim
Original Airdate: 01/23/66

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (revised)
Dr. Stacey Fielding is supposed to be flying his own plane to Salt Lake City on business. Monkey business is suspected when the plane crashes and the body is found with Veronal poisoning. His wife Miriam is arrested for murder since the last thing Stacey drank was whiskey from a flask she had given him.

But Miriam is cleared when Perry contends the body has not been positively identified as her husband, and Perry's second guess as to who the body is is also incorrect, causing her to be rearrested. To prevent her from being put on trial a third time, Perry has to solve the mystery.

Credits Edit

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

Opening

Starring Raymond Burr
in Erle Stanley Gardner’s
The Case of THE VAINISHING VICTIM
Based on The Case of the Fugitive Nurse
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman

Trailing

Directed by Harmon Jones
Written by Ernest Frankel & 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 | Richard Shores

Cast

Lisa Gaye as Laraine Keely
Jeanne Cooper as Miriam Fielding
George Wallace as Stacey Fielding
Richard Erdman as Jud Bennett
Russell Arms as Reed Kavanaugh
John Matthews as F.A.A. Investigator
S. John Launer as Judge Telford
John Goddard as Al Dolby
Carl Prickett as Operations Clerk
Carol Brewster as Ruth Kavanaugh
Tom Vize as Process Server
Lee Miller as Sgt. Brice
Glen Vernon as McGill

Uncredited Actors

Don Anderson as { Police Officer
Courtroom Spectator
(spotted by FredK, 12/24/2010)

Crew

Director of Photography … John M. Nickolaus, Jr.
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Robert G. Stone
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
Automobiles supplied by … Ford Motor Company

Perry Mason
Produced by the CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions

Trivia Edit

Location: About halfway through the episode Perry and Paul go to the Burbank Airport and you can see the exterior of the terminal and parking lot. I confirmed this with Les Copeland, president, of the Burbank Aviation Museum. Burbank Airport is now called Bob Hope Airport and is also featured in episodes #39, 99, 165, and #220. Posted by Eric Cooper, 25 September 2009. Some pictures here.

Jeanne Cooper makes her final of 5 appearances here on Perry playing Miriam Fielding. Since 1973, Ms. Cooper has been essaying the role of matriarch Katherine Chancellor on the daytime drama The Young And The Restless. She is probably most famous, however, for being the mother of Corbin Bernsen. Submitted by PaulDrake33, 10/27/2009.

Lisa Gaye also makes her final of 7 appearances on Perry Mason playing Laraine Keely. Submitted by Perry Baby 1/12/14.

This episode of Perry Mason (TCOT Vanishing Victim) and the first season episode TCOT Fugitive Nurse (#22, 1.22) are both based on the same Erle Stanley Gardner novel titled The Case of the Fugitive Nurse. So this current episode is often considered to be a "re-make" of the first season episode TCOT Fugitive Nurse. See repeated episodes here. Submitted by Charles Richmond, 26 April 2013.

Uncredited Actors: This episode is another three-timer for Don Anderson. In the first trial of Mrs. Fielding, he’s seen as spectator leaving the courtroom after the dismissal. Mid-episode he appears as a uniformed policeman at the airport standing behind Burger and Drumm as they escort Kavanaugh off the plane. Finally, in the last trial, he’s a spectator in the front row behind the defense table. This time he wears the dark-rimmed spectacles he’s been using in the latest episodes. Submitted by FredK, 24 December 2010.

Sightings: Turning up at the first evidentiary hearing are Quiet Old Man #1 and Little Old Lady #1. In the second hearing they are joined by “Miss Carmody.” Read about these and other regulars here. Submitted by gracenote, 6/1/2011.

The young brunette shows up in the initial hearing. She is on the prosecution side. Submitted by Perry Baby 1/12/14

Continuity Error: The Little Old Lady mentioned above magically teleports from one side of the courtroom gallery to the other depending on the shot. Submitted by gracenote, 6/1/2011.

Deja Vu: If the plot device seems somewhat familiar, it is because the “faked death via airplane crash” had been previously used in TCOT Frantic Flyer in Season 3. Submitted by cgraul, 1/10/2012.
+Deja ReVu. It also bears more than a little similarity to the Second Season Premier TCOT Corresponding Corpse, including the most obvious of all: in both Jeanne Cooper plays the non-victim's wife. Added by Notcom 071117.

This is the only PM appearance for Carol Brewster, who recovered from a bout with polio in the 1950s...MikeM. 3/28/2017

Comments Edit

The only problem with having Richard Erdman in a show (of any kind) is that it's better than even odds that he's gonna play the baddie .. man just LOOKED suspicious! Submitted by MikeReese 5/17/2013

I thought this was one of the better episodes (tight directing, fast pace) despite having a few plot holes (like why the mechanic was not missed or interviewed). I wonder when the rules of discovery (prosecution and defense sharing information) was active given Hamilton Burger withholding witnesses, etc. Submitted by Perry Baby 1/12/14

I liked the Scene where Paul Drake's operative, posing as a press photographer at the airport, served a Defense SUBPOENA on Burger's witness - with the DA at his side! "Subpoena" comes from Latin words meaning "UNDER PENALTY," Amendment 6: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right...to have COMPULSORY PROCESS For Obtaining Witnesses In His Favor." Mike Bedard 3.3.15.

"Morgue" was the "name of [a] Building in Paris housing Dead bodies not Identified" (Webster's Unabridged Dictionary). Mike Bedard 3.3.15.

"[Ancient] Fingerprint History: Prehistoric picture writing of a hand with ridge patterns was discovered in Nova Scotia. In ancient Babylon, fingerprints were used on clay tablets for business transactions. In ancient China, thumb prints were found on clay seals. In 14th century Persia, various government papers had fingerprints (impressions) & 1 official, a Doctor, observed that No 2 fingerprints were Exactly alike (US Marshals Service For Students website). Mike Bedard 3.3.15.

At the time of the '66 episode, there was a Federal Aviation AGENCY created in 1958; in 1967, the Federal Aviation ADMINISTRATION was placed in the new Department of Transportation (FAA website). Mike Bedard 3.3.15.

I had to edit the summary to remove a fact actually only revealed in the last 2 minutes of the episode. That's a spoiler! Submitted by DyNama, 3/3/2015.

I guess no one missed the mechanic when he did not show up for work. Also, when the camera was behind the pilot just prior and could not see his face, a viewer gets suspicious. Submitted by Perry Baby 1/17/17.

+This may be the only show where the name of the murder victim is not known until the last few minutes of the show. Submitted by PaulDrake 33. 3 March 2015

Lisa Gaye is stunning here! Submitted by DyNama, 3/3/2015.
+ She's beautiful when she's angry. JohnK, 21 November 2015
+ She is also clever using the same tactic Perry did with the defendant, the old slipping out the back door/window trick when Perry visits her apartment. Submitted by HamBurger 07/01/2017

When Perry and Paul see a picture of Loraine (Lisa) for the first time, they both describe her as "nice" and then we had the gratuitous shower scene with her. Interesting how she was in the shower with the door closed, possibly behind a closed bedroom door, with the record player on with music, and somehow she heard Perry knock on the front door and told him to come in. She has great hearing and trusting. Submitted by Perry Baby 1/24/17.

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