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EpisodePages/Show3

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<< Sleepwalker's Niece | Episodes | Drowning Duck >>

#3: The Case of the
Nervous Accomplice
Original Airdate: 10/05/57

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (revised)
In this episode, Sybil Granger hires Perry to help her buy stock in her husband's oil company on the sly. Sybil wants some control of the company's action with hopes of forcing hubby's latest squeeze, Roxy Howard, out of the company and the picture altogether.

Sybil spies on Roxy and gets caught by George Lutts, another investor in her husband's company. When Lutts is shot, Sybil ends up on trial for his murder. Perry has to turn to his bag of courtroom tricks to get her off the hook.

PMESG

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 Nervous Accomplice
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins

Trailing

Directed by William D. Russell
Teleplay by Stirling Silliphant
Ben Brady | Producer
Produced by CBS Television in association with Paisano Productions
Gail Patrick Jackson | Executive Producer
Sam White | Associate Producer

Raymond Burr as Perry Mason
Barbara Hale as Della Street
William Hopper as Paul Drake
William Talman as Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg

Cast

Maggie Hayes as Sybil Granger
Greta Thyssen as Roxy Howard
William Roerick as Bruce Granger
Robert Cornthwaite as Herbert Dean
Richard Hale as George Lutts
James Gavin as Jerome Keddie
Jean Howell as Vinnie Dean
Claudia Bryar as Ruth Marvel
Morris Ankrum as Judge Hoyt
Tyler McVey as Sam Elkins
Robert Bice as Hurley
Norman Leavitt as Alexander Redfield
George Eldredge as Fenton Thompson
Gail Bonney as Harriet
Sam Flint as Mr. Rector
Jack Harris as Court Clerk

Uncredited Actors
Don Anderson as 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 … Maxwell Henry
Editorial Supervisor … Art Seid, A.C.E.
Film Editor … Otto W. Meyer, A.C.E.
Makeup … Mel Berns
Hair Stylist … Annabell, S.C.H.
Wardrobe Supervision … Dick James
Set Decorations … Walter M. Scott, Charles Q. Vassar
Properties … Ray Thompson
Recorded by … Alfred Bruzlin
Rerecording Mixer … Harry M. Leonard
Script Supervisor … Cosmo Genovese

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

Trivia Edit

CARS: 1957 Ford Skyliner retractable, black (Mason), 1957 Plymouth convertible. From The Cars by Greg Cockerill.
+ The Plymouth is Sybil Granger's 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible with V8 engine (denoted by wide "V" on fender forward of front wheel). Screenshot at 12:09 of the episode is here. Sybil's car was produced after mid-Jan 57: a close look at 12:17 shows that it had six pairs of narrow vertical slots in the underpan behind the licence plate, like this. Cars produced before mid-Jan 57 had six wide slots like this. The 57 Plymouth had very good handling thanks to its new "Torsion-Aire Ride" which included torsion bar Front Suspension. Read about the car here. See Comments "1957 Headlights".
& At 16:10 we see the Drake Detective Agency radio car manned by two of Paul's agents. It's a black 1957 Lincoln Premiere 4-Door Sedan. Another photo here. Added by Gary Woloski, 5/17/12.

Anomaly: Robert Bice is listed as Hurley in the closing credits but is identified as Frank Faulkner by Paul Drake.

In this show George Lutts complains to his daughter and son-in-law because steak costs $1.34 a pound. Can you imagine what he would have to say about today’s prices? Submitted by PaulDrake33, 6/25/2008.

The (shooting?) script for this episode is dated 10 June 1957. At least 7 episodes have scripts dated earlier. So while it was the 3rd episode broadcast, it was probably no earlier than the 8th filmed. Submitted by billp, 3 November 2009.

Here is the putative route of the “second” taxi trip Mrs. Granger took. The actual route described is a plausible one. The taxi is followed south on Roxbury Dr. It turns east onto Santa Monica Blvd. and goes past Hillcrest Dr. While on Santa Monica, it picks up Drake’s man. It then goes north on Doheny Dr., heading towards Sunset Blvd. While on Doheny it presumeably drops off Drake’s man and picks up Mrs. Granger and company. They tell it to go west on Sunset. It then probably goes south on Whittier. Mrs. Granger and friend exit at Whittier and Wilshire. This is somewhat southwest of where we, the viewer, initially picked up the trail. The route followed by the taxi is circular in nature. Frankly, it seems possible, given this description, that Mrs. Granger could have been with Drake’s men when this road trip began and ended. Interesting. I guess if you wanted to do a Perry Mason “re-enactment,” you could trace out this route and check out the scenery. Submitted by billp. 26 November 2009. [Here's the route on Google Maps. Use Street View to check out the scenery. daveb]

Uncredited Actors: Don Anderson makes his third Mason appearance here (unless you count episode 2 twice, since he was in two places in the courtroom). He’s a courtroom spectator seated directly behind Herbert Dean played by Robert Cornthwaite. (See Uncredited Actors). Submitted by FredK 29 September 2010.
+ In an initial long shot of the courtroom, he appears in the back row, but then in a closer cut to Burger, he disappears. Submitted by gracenote, 8/23/2011.

Sightings: Blue Collar Guy can be seen with his arm on the back of an attractive young brunette among the spectators exiting from the first aborted hearing, while Tragg is stalling Mason in the foreground. (See Who Is That?) Submitted by alan_sings 30 September 2010.
+ (Also Continuity Error:) In the courtroom gallery during the first hearing, we find Distinguished Genetleman #1 in the back row, Distinguished Gentleman #2 in the front row, on the prosecutor’s side. In the second hearing the two gentlemen sit together in the back row on the other side of the courtroom—that is until DG #1 shows up again on Burger’s side when he calls a witness. Submitted by gracenote, 8/23/2011.

Syndication cuts: Opening scene with Harriet, Bruce and Roxy; Sybil leaving her car and catching a cab; after checking her car for the gun, Sybil grabs her sweater from the seat and the binoculars fall out; conversation between Tragg, Mason and Sybil where Tragg takes Sybil to the D.A.; Della commenting that Burger left a vapor trail, Mason saying he didn't fool Burger, Mason accusing Sybil of lying about the distance of the shot and Tragg issuing another warrant against Sybil; Mason and Drake driving up to the shack; scene with Burger and Tragg and the binoculars, where Burger calls Tragg a peeping Tom and Tragg informs Burger about Lutts' and Sybil's fingerprints on the binoculars. Additional Hallmark cuts: Part of the dinner conversation when Lutts asks Herbert about Sybil "Did you see her there or didn't you?" and Vinnie says "every day last week"; Burger complaining about endless and purposeless cross examinations; Mason questions Sybil about the distance of the shot; cabbie being sworn in; cabbie saying he took Sybil to Brent building; Bruce asking Mason if he can help and Mason saying he's a little late; conversation between Vinnie and Herbert after Perry, Della and Paul leave; Burger's first objection to Mason's shooting-the-blank demonstration; Mason's telling Sybil to keep a poker face and Ruth being sworn in; Ruth saying she's Sybil's friend and Burger asking if the relationship goes farther. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 7/04/12.
+ In the syndicated version I recorded on 7 Mar 2014 on MeTV, it went from Sybil and Ruth getting in the cab to four minutes twenty seconds of commercials, then to the start of the trial. We never do learn why Burger considered Sybil to be a suspect. Submitted by Alan Smithee, 3-10-2014.

Gun: The murder weapon was a Colt Official Police. Submitted by oldgray, 2/27/2014.

Comments Edit

The purchasing power of $1.34 in 1957 would be $9.87 in 2007. What's the price of a rib-eye, porterhouse, or New York strip today? Submitted by billp, 12/26/2008.

How much did Lutts sell that stock to Perry for? About $32,727.27. That means Sybil Granger came up with about $241,056.40 in 2007 dollars. Not bad. Her $2.95 taxi ride(s) would be about $21.73. Taxis were clearly a lot more economical back then. And the drivers spoke English, too! A million dollars would be $7,365,612.79 in 2007 dollars. No wonder Roxy is so upset!! Submitted by billp, 12/27/2008.

Sybil Granger is the second person whose gun is stolen from the glove compartment of her car. (Do all Americans keep their guns there? Why?) Submitted by evelyne, 2/4/2011.
+ I think it’s just Californians, who also (according to this series) buy rifles at office supply stores so they can shoot the Man when he comes onto their orange grove / dying farm / oil field / salted mine.

1957 Headlight Oddities. Until 1957, US federal and state laws only permitted two headlights on automobiles. For the 1957 Model Year, each of the Big Three automakers planned to introduce Quad Headlights on some models. However, by Sept 1956 (debut time for the '57 models) about eight states had not yet amended their regulations to permit these headlights. The automakers' fallback for the non-quad states was to install one conventional pre-57 High/Low-beam unit on each side and to install Parking, Driving or Turn-Signal lights in the two left-over headlight stations. These "Quasi-Quads" ended up looking like this on the Plymouth and this on the Lincoln. I have read one account that California was the last state to legalize Quad Headlights, apparently doing so in Dec '56. The next appearance of a car affected by this headlight confusion is in Ep#5 (Frances Celane's '57 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible). Added by Gary Woloski, 5/17/12.

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