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<< Daring Decoy | Episodes | Screaming Woman >>

#29: The Case of the
Hesitant Hostess
Original Airdate: 04/05/58

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Perry offers to defend a man free of charge because he knows the guy is still hurting over the accidental death of his wife and kids eight years ago. It pays off when Perry turns up a heroin- smuggling ring at the Danceland Ballroom.

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 Hesitant Hostess
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins

Trailing

Directed by Christian Nyby
Teleplay by Al C. Ward
Ben Brady | Producer
Produced by CBS Television in association with Paisano Productions
Gail Patrick Anderson | Executive Producer
Sam White | Associate Producer

Cast

Karen Sharpe as Inez Kaylor
Fred Sherman as Albert Sanders
June Vincent as Martha Rayburn
Les Tremayne as Fred Archer
Ned Wever as Joe Gibbs
Betty Utey as Kim Lane
Robin Raymond as Secretary
Gil Frye as Det. Ralph Faulkner
Jacqueline Holt as Christine
Michael Mason as Larry Coles
Fay Roope as Judge
George Cisar as Mr. Wickett
Robert Karnes as Det. Purvis
Paul Serra as Court Stenographer
John Alvin as Sam Walsh

Uncredited Actors

Lee Miller as { Sgt. Brice
Courtroom Spectator
Don Anderson as { Ballroom Dancer
Courtroom Spectator

Crew

Gene Wang | Story Editor

Production Supervisor … J. Paul Popkin
Director of Photography … Frank Redman, A.S.C.
Art Direction … Lyle Wheeler, Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Art Marks
Editorial Supervisor … Art Seid, A.C.E.
Film Editor … Clarence Kolster, A.C.E.
Makeup … Mel Berns
Hair Stylist … Annabell
Wardrobe Supervision … Dick James
Set Decorations … Walter M. Scott, Charles Q. Vassar
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Robert O’Brien
Script Supervisor … Cosmo Genovese

This has been a CBS Television Network Production
Filmed in Hollywood by TCF Television Productions, Inc.

Trivia Edit

CARS: 1957 Mercury 4dr hardtop, 2-tone: light & medium colors, 1957 Ford 2dr sedan, light color. From The Cars by Greg Cockerill.

+ Speaking of cars, dig the late 30's, early 40's autos in the opening scene. What dusty vault did they find this stock footage in? Submitted by Bill-W2XOY on 08/26/13.

Kim Lane’s death is front-page news in the Los Angeles Star-News. Normally the Los Angeles Chronicle is the newspaper of choice for the Perry Mason show. Submitted by PaulDrake33, 6/3/2009. \\ + A city the size of L.A., of course, had more than one newspaper in the 1950s. The Los Angeles Star-News appears again in episode 41 TCOT Lucky Loser. A third L.A. paper is mentioned in episode 139 TCOT Shapely Shadow and a different newspaper, The Los Angeles Clarion, is seen in episode 181 TCOT Witless Witness. Submitted by H. Mason 9/26/14 + A fifth L.A. paper, The Evening Star, is in episode 156 TCOT Playboy Pugilist. A copy of it is not shown. A reporter on the staff is in the story. Added by H. Mason 9/29/14
+ A Los Angeles CHRONICLE front page appeared in the "Charlie Harris At Large" episode of The Rockford Files (1975). Mike Bedard 4.29.15

Uncredited Actors: Don Anderson plays two more extra roles in this episode. Early on he’s seen on the dance floor at the ballroom. Later he’s a courtroom spectator at the robbery trial. Submitted by FredK 25, Oct 2010.
+ I caught a sighting of Don Anderson showing some fancy footwork on the dance floor in the opening scene. It’s the camera view from above; he’s under the “dance floor ball” to the right of the sailor and his dance partner. The guy had moves! From Kelvin Chambliss via email, posted by daveb, 5/15/2011. + Unacknowledged but identifiable courtroom spectators include Lee Miller, who may still be playing the Sgt. Brice role he played earlier in the episode, and boxer-turned-actor Tom Kennedy, who never stops chewing gum.

Location: About 31 minutes in we see the exterior of the building where Universal Model Agency is located. If you look closely you can see First Trust Building etched on the side. This building, built in 1927, is on the National Register of Historic Buildings and is located at 595 E. Colorado Blvd in Pasadena. Recent picture here. Submitted by Eric Cooper 11 January 2011.
+ "The First Trust Building & Garage, aka Lloyd's Bank, incorporated the Mediterranean Revival, Renaissance Revival & Beaux-Arts styles. The design features...a cupola, frieze and balustrade. CALTECH Professor R.R. Martel designed the...Earthquake-proof support system...an important advancement [that] became a Standard form of construction," en.wikipedia reports. Mike Bedard 4.29.15

Sightings: Distinguished Gentleman #1, Distinguished Gentleman #2, and Distinguished Lady #4 are among the courtroom spectators today. More on this page. Submitted by gracenote, 9/2/2011.
+ (Also Continuity Error:) Earlier, a passenger in the elevator is Distinguished Gentleman #2, who then impossibly appears in the courtroom when Drake walks in. He also magically floats around the courtroom, appearing on one side and then the other. Submitted by gracenote, 9/2/2011.
+Sasha Maraloff shows at the first trial with glasses. Submitted by BigBill767, Nov 11, 2016.

Syndicated cuts: The Danceland sign at the beginning of the episode [see picture above]; scene with Mason and Della about whether Martha was with Archer during the robbery; boys playing baseball, finding the body; Della pouring Perry a cup of coffee; second jail scene with Sanders now charged with murder; the Los Angeles Star-News headline; scene with Kim and Paul before Larry leaves; shot of the plane and downtown Las Vegas. Additional Hallmark cuts: Mason telling Sanders he made inquiries about him [this edit saved Hallmark all of 3 seconds]; Mason and Della pretending to be repossessing the mink coat and, after Mr. Wickett leaves, Perry telling Della to search the bedroom [or everything between the exterior shot of the apartment and the clock that reads 7:37]; Burger saying Mason is insulting the intelligence of the court by prolonging the trial, Mason saying he will prove pertinence, telling Martha her purse is unusual and her saying that it was made for her; Tragg arriving with Kim's real purse, Sanders thanking Perry and Mason telling Burger and Tragg it was just flour in the phony purse [the Hallmark scene ends with the judge saying court is adjourned with a piece of music (edited from the real act end) dubbed over the scene to create a phony end]. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 7/25/12.

Goof: Perry's client's last name is listed in the credits as "Sanders" but most of the other characters--including Perry himself--seem to pronounce it "Saunders." Submitted by Alan Smithee, 4-15-14.

Bad stenographer: The stenographer wasn't doing a very accurate job. Martha Rayburn's testimony was as follows:

"She was Archer's girlfriend and she threatened to go to his family unless he paid her off...oh no no, he, he paid off, all right, in fact I cashed one of the checks for him myself."

When Perry has the stenographer read back the remarks, it was read as follows:

"Q: Was she Archer's girlfriend? A: Yes, she threatened to tell his family if he didn't pay off...no he paid all right, I cashed one of his checks myself." Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 12/30/14.

+ Whose life is it anyway?, one wonders about the possible ramifications of misstated testimony. Another example occurs in #179 TCOT Skeleton's Closet, that time by Perry. lowercase masonite, 3/5/16.

According to imdb, Betty Utey was born in Finland in 1935. She was married to director Nicholas Ray from 1958-1964...MikeM. 8/17/2016

Karen Sharpe was married to producer/director Stanley Kramer from 1966 until his death in 2001...MikeM. 8/17/2016

This was the first of five PM appearances by June Vincent...MikeM. 8/17/2016

According to an online obituary, writer Al C. Ward added the Raymond Burr sequences for the American version of a Japanese Godzilla movie. He reportedly insisted that he receive no credit for this work...MikeM. 8/17/2016

Fay Roope was born in Massachusetts in 1893. He graduated from Harvard University in 1916...MikeM. 8/17/2016

Comments Edit

In Episode 15 (TCOT Fan Dancer’s Horse), Robert Bice plays Detective Faulkner. But here in Episode 29—the same season—Gil Frye plays Faulkner. Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 6/8/09. For the record, Robert Bice's character was Frank Faulkner and Gil Frye's character was called Ralph Faulkner. Either one of the actors or someone in script supervision made sure that the names were different. Submitted by FredK 18 May 2012.
+ In Desperate Daughter, Paul Drake referred to Faulkner as "half Bird Dog," but the character did not appear. Mike Bedard 4.29.15

+When Ralph Faulkner led Inez into the courthouse, I did a double and then a triple take. Ralph Faulkner looked enough like Perry to be his brother. Submitted by PaulDrake 33. 29 April 2015.

Couldn't Perry arrange for his client to get a shave and a suit or at least get his hair combed before his appearance in court? Perhaps because Perry didn't get a fee for this case? Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 7/25/12.

I believe this is the earliest episode where Perry plays his "What if I told you..." trick on a witness, in this case, Martha Rayburn. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 15 April 2014.
+ He does it again in #46 TCOT Married Moonlighter. 65tosspowertrap, 5-10-2014.

Della has an "Undercover" assignment outside the office & courthouse; Paul refers to dropping "Cyanide pellets" rather than saying "Gas Chamber." Mike Bedard 4.29.15

+ Interesting observation. Paul is talking with Inez (22:20 on the 2006 Paramount DVD): "You have a change of heart, and an innocent man pays for it, huh?" Inez, sarcastically: "Oh honey, send him my regrets." Paul: "He'll appreciate that, right up to the time they drop the cyanide pellets." And in #36 TCOT Prodigal Parent Paul is telling Perry and Della (20:49 on the 2006 Paramount DVD): "I understand Burger's uncovered a hunk of evidence that's guaranteed to put Harrison in the gas chamber." Per http://deathpenaltyusa.org/usa1/state/california5.htm California was averaging between 8 and 9 gas chamber executions a year during 1941-1957, evidently enough to keep the morbid thoughts in contemporary screenplays. lowercase masonite, 1/30/16.

This episode has some of the best music of the entire series, at least in my opinion -- in particular the jump number when we first see the ballroom. Sounds a bit like the late 40s material of Bob Wills. JohnK, 3 December 2015

Spoiler Warning! Do Not Read Below If You Have Not Seen The Episode

This show contains no murder trial. Perry is still working on a robbery trial when the identity of the guilty party is revealed. Submitted by PaulDrake33, 6/3/2009.

+ The novel on which this episode was based had some oddities as well. The court case was already in progress at the start of the novel and the only murder had occurred before the novel began. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 12/30/14.

It seems implausible that, even in 1958, someone would think it a cost-effective method of smuggling heroin by flying someone to Rio to bring back a few grams of the stuff, for it would seem that's all the "secret compartment" in the handbag could hold. Submitted by francis, 1/17/12

In the syndicated version recently shown (July 2012) during Martha Rayburn's final testimony, in between Perry asking her "Was Kim Lane alive at the time of the robbery?" and her answer there is a frame with a white background and black upside down letters reading "SPLICE HERE" with an arrow pointing downwards. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 7/25/12.

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