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#69: The Case of the
Lame Canary
Original Airdate: 06/27/59

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Ruth Prescott wants to divorce her husband Walter so she can be with true love Jimmy MacLaine. After a brush with death, Ruth is convinced her husband is trying to kill her. When Walter turns up dead instead, the police believe Ruth shot him, but Perry doesn't think so. A lame canary and unusual bruises on the victim puzzle our young lawyer, if only momentarily.

The ending is quite humorous: "A Lame Canary turns out to be a Stool Pigeon"

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 LAME CANARY
Barbara Hale as Della Street
William Hopper as Paul Drake
William Talman as Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg

Trailing

Directed by Arthur Marks
Teleplay by Seeleg Lester
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

James Philbrook as Harry Jonson
Stacy Graham as Ruth Prescott
Biff Elliot as Jimmy McLain
Susan Cummings as Margaret Swaine
William Kendis as Walter Prescott
Berry Kroeger as Ernest Wray
S. John Launer as Judge
Michael Fox as Dr. Hoxie
Emerson Treacy as Dr. Fowler
Chet Stratton as Hotel Clerk
Ray Phillips as Police Officer
Lee Miller as Sgt. Brice
George E. Stone as Court Clerk
Richard Wessel as Transfer Man

Crew

Gene Wang | Story Consultant
Production Supervisor … J. Paul Popkin
Story Editor … Alice Young
Director of Photography … Frank Redman, A.S.C.

Art Direction { Lyle Wheeler
Lewis Creber
Editorial Supervision … Art Seid, A.C.E.
Film Editor … Richard H. Cahoon, A.C.E.
Assistant Director … Morris Harmell

Casting … Harvey Clermont
Makeup … Irving Pringle
Hair Stylist … Annabell, S.C.H.
Wardrobe Supervision … Dick James
Set Decoration … Walter M. Scott, Charles Q. Vassar
Properties … Ray Thompson
Sound Editor … Gene Eliot, M.P.S.E.
Production Sound Mixer … Roy Meadows
Script Supervision … William E. Orr

PERRY MASON
Filmed in Hollywood by TCF Television Productions, Inc.
A CBS Television Network Production

Trivia Edit

CARS: 1949-50 Ford 2dr sedan, dark color, Late 40s Ford (?) COE moving van, Late 40s Dodge extended length 4dr sedan, light & medium color (Taxi), 1958 Ford Thunderbird convertible, black, top down & white top up (Drake), 1959 Cadillac series 62 convertible, black, top down & white top up (Mason), Multiple 1959 Ford Custom 300 4dr sedans, black & white (Police), Cameos: 1955 Chevrolet Nomad, medium color Early 50s Ford pickup. From The Cars by Greg Cockerill.

Sightings: Several recurring courtroom spectators appear in this episode. Distinguished Gentleman #1 sits behind the prosecutor, while across the aisle, Quiet Old Man #1 and the Little Old Lady in a Hat sit next to each other. She is especially visible in a close-up of Miss Swaine. DG #1 also plays an elevator operator named Rudy at the Westwood Arms. He doesn’t speak a word, only nods. But we get a better look at him than ever, for he actually accompanies the Transfer Man to an apartment. Submitted by gracep, 9/05/2010.
+ “Miss Carmody” can be seen among those filing out of court at adjournment while Tragg is speaking with Perry near the defense table. She can also be seen when court resumes, seated at the right end of the second row behind the defense table. Submitted by alan_sings, 3 Oct 2010.
+ The distinctive visage of Quiet Old Man #2 peers over the shoulder of Ernest Wray in a cutaway. More about all these folks at Who Is That? Submitted by gracenote, 7/25/2011.

Character Names: We learn that Ruth Prescott’s maiden name is Jiuvenal. Submitted by gracenote, 7/25/2011.

It's for you, Mr. Mason: When a phone is heard ringing, it's a good bet it's for you-know-who. This time Paul finds Perry at Jimmy McLain's apartment. Submitted by francis, 7/24/14.

Taxi: Ruth took a cab from Jimmy's apartment to her house. It had Yellow on the dome light and Sky-View on the door. Were the companies merging? See trivia notes for previous episode. Submitted by H. Mason 10/22/14

This is the second of two PM appearances for Susan Cummings, who was born in Germany. Cummings was the woman who deciphered the alien book in the Twilight Zone episode, "To Serve Man"...MikeM. 10/12/2016

Comments Edit

Chet Stratton was one of those character actors who seemed to show up everywhere, and in this episode he turns in a fine performance as a sleazy desk clerk, not only listening in to guests' phone conversations but drooling over a copy of Police Beat magazine. Submitted by francis, 7/24/14.

During the final scene of the show, some of Della's dialogue is obviously dubbed over. I wonder why. Did the canary make too much noise as she was speaking her lines, or did Barbara Hale blow the line in some way and they only realized it later and had to do it over? Submitted by scarter 8/17/14

Why does Jimmy take his gun out of the holster when he leaves his apartment, instead of carrying the gun in the holster? He says the gun is in his car. If he keeps the gun in his car, why is it up in his apartment when he gets Ruth's phone call? And why does he leave the holster lying on the table, knowing Ruth is coming over? She sees it and thinks the worst. Another example of the characters acting a certain way to advance the plot, not out of logic. Submitted by scarter 8/17/14

Perry hands Hamilton a folder and Hamilton opens it and looks at the contents. Apparently he has lost the X-ray vision he possessed during the season's opening credits. Submitted by scarter 8/17/14

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

It turns out that the "accident" at the beginning of the episode turns out as it was planned so why does Prescott run out of his house and tell Jonson "You fool! You bungled it!"? Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 4/08/13.

He was supposed to kill Frederic Walden in the fake accident and didn't. They had to take him to another location and murder him. Submitted by H. Mason 10/22/14

+ It seems dopey for the two conspirators to (1) murder Walden together, and (2) set it up across the street from Prescott's home. Convenient, though. JohnK, 16 December 2015

Though it set up some witty knowing remarks between Tragg, Mason and Street - the latter's (presumably) improvised explanation of the monogram was particularly rich - the whole "mistaken identity" scenario with the trunks made little sense: though Della gave permision, the important thing is that Margaret Swaine did not; and since she was readily available, and there was no emergency to justify opening then immediately, the impromtu search would IMHO certainly be deemed an "unreasonable search". Submitted by Notcom 100115
+ Lt. Tragg gave Perry a Rare compliment In Court: "That was a good point you scored with Miss Swaine, Perry." Mike Bedard 7/6/16.

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