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<< Lame Canary | Episodes | Watery Witness >>

#70: The Case of the
Spurious Sister
Original Airdate: 10/03/59

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (Revised)
This is a strange episode.

Bruce Chapman returns home early from a business trip to find that his wife, Marie, wants a divorce. Chapman is upset and very surprised. Just before he had left for his trip, he thought he had found the strangled body of Marie in her cabin. He thought someone had done him a favor, and hoped the matter would be cleaned up before he came home. But now if Marie is still alive, who was that dead woman?

Credits Edit

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


Starring Raymond Burr
Based Upon Characters Created by Erle Stanley Gardner

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


Directed by Arthur Marks
Written by Maurice Zimm
Herbert Hirschman | Producer
Gail Patrick Jackson | Executive Producer
Produced by The CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions
Seeleg Lester | Associate Producer, Story Consultant
Arthur Marks | 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


Karl Weber as Bruce Chapman
Mary La Roche as Grace Norwood
Marion Marshall as Ginny Hobart
Marianne Stewart as Helen Sprague
Peggy Knudsen as Marie Chapman
James Seay as Ralph Hibberly
Charles Cooper as Greg Evans
Robert Osterloh as Walter Sprague
John Launer as Judge
Charles Davis as Hotel Clerk
Michael Fox as Autopsy Surgeon
Nancy Evans as Switchboard Operator
Sam Edwards as Cashier
George E. Stone as Court Clerk


Art Seid, A.C.E. | Assistant to the Producer
Production Supervisor … Dewey Starkey
Director of Photography … Frank Redman, A.S.C.
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Film Editor … Richard H. Cahoon, A.C.E.
Assistant Director … Robert G. Stone
Casting … Harvey Clermont
Makeup … Richard Hamilton
Hair Stylist … Annabell, S.C.H.
Wardrobe Supervision … William Zacha, Evelyn Carruth
Set Decoration … Charles Q. Vassar
Sound Effects Editor … Gene Eliot, M.P.S.E.
Music Editor … Gene Feldman
Properties … Ray Thompson
Lighting Fixtures by … E.J.S. Lighting Corp.
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … Marshall Wollins

A CBS Television Network Production

Trivia Edit

Beginning the third season, Halo Shampoo, Wildroot Hair Creme, and Colgate Toothpaste are now the sponsors. In the closing credits of this show (DVD version) the products are pictured at lower-left of screen. Submitted by PaulDrake 33 and daveb 9/10/10.

+ Why are they only on the DVD? Why can I not see them on the broadcast on my local TV station? Queried by gracep 9/11/10.
+ The DVDs generally reflect the masters and/or the original broadcast prints. What you see on TV today are the syndication prints. In syndication, you wouldn’t see who the original sponsors were—there are “new” sponsors and the end-titles were changed to remove the references to the original sponsors. Syndication prints also tend to be heavily edited as to content often to the detriment of the story line. Watching syndication prints, many was the time I would be puzzled by dialogue or action that seemed to come out of the blue. Seeing those missing 10 minutes or so on DVD explained much. Submitted by billp, 9/28/10.
+ The editing of syndicated episodes, which is a common practice today was not always the case. Through the 1970s and into the 1980s in some cases episodes were delivered uncut on film to local stations. It was up to the stations themselves whether to cut an episode and it usually involved cutting one scene (not as much was cut out as it is today) and leaving the rest intact. Depending on the size of the market the station was in or what time of day (or season) the episode was broadcast, the episode may not have been cut at all. Some DVD (and earlier VHS) claims that this is the first time the episodes were seen uncut since the original network broadcast are simply untrue. I recall seeing uncut episodes of Star Trek through the 1970s and Hawaii Five-0 in the early 1980s. Late night reruns of Perry Mason I've seen in the 1970s were also possibly uncut. It wasn't until the early-to-mid 1980s when episodes began to be syndicated pre-edited on tape that stations no longer had the choice of whether to broadcast an edited episode. Also the episodes (during this season) with the sponsor's products alternate with episodes without the pictures. The episodes with the pictures run an average of a minute and a half longer than the ones without (causing even more content to be edited out in reruns). Did this product placement count as 1:30 of commercial time? Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 7/25/14.
+ The cast's incessant cigarette smoking has ceased with the departure of the former tobacco sponsor, but with the arrival of Wildroot Cream Oil as a new sponsor, we can now marvel at the outrageously glossy hair on Perry, Paul, and Bruce Chapman, with extra shine provided by bright overhead lighting in the final scene. Submitted by catyron 11/4/17

Normally Mr. Launer, playing our judge today, is listed in the credits as S. John Launer, but for some reason in this episode the “S.” is omitted. The initial is also omitted in #79, TCOT Lucky Legs. Submitted by gracep, 9/17/2010.
+ The S stands for SAUL [IMDb]. MeTV ran this episode Today, but the cable guide listed "Dubious Bridegroom" instead. Mike Bedard 7.5.16

Sightings: Blue Collar Guy drives the cab bringing Bruce Chapman home from his business trip. Quiet Old Man #1 and Cute Young Lady are courtroom spectators. (See Who Is That?) Submitted by alan_sings 30 September 2010, updated 16 Oct 2010.

Uncredited Actors: That’s Lee Miller (as Sgt. Brice) standing behind Lt. Tragg when he first confronts Bruce Chapman. Submitted by gracenote, 8/1/2011.

Actress Marion Marshall was married to Robert Wagner, in between his two marriages to Natalie Wood. Submitted by MikeM, 11/08/2012.

CARS. (1) white 1959 Buick LeSabre Convertible top down, Lic No SDL 689, Bruce Chapman. This exact-same car appears many more times in the series including wearing a crooked-false-moustache-disguise, see screenshot Ep#83.

Across the street in taxi scene: 1959 Plymouth Suburban 4-door Station Wagon and a couple of '59 Fairlanes. Added by Gary Woloski, 7/25/12.

Script goof: When Paul tells Perry the Spragues' home had been broken into, Perry asks "Robbery?" Paul responds in the affirmative, but both of them (and the scriptwriter) should have known that was a burglary, as apparently there was no violence or threat of violence involved. Submitted by francis, 7/25/14.

Check: The check Helen wrote to Marie was on an account at City Trust & Savings Bank seen in episodes 9 and 65. There will be more in future stories. Submitted by H. Mason 10/22/14

Social Security Number: The number (548-05-4960) shown for Grace Norwood would have been a California number in 1959. Any SS# starting with 545 to 573 showed numbers issued in California until 1973. (From: Reading The Numbers by Mary Blocksma). Submitted by H. Mason 10/22/14

Della's Impersonation: Della pretends to be Grace Norwood in a call to Las Vegas lawyer Ralph Hibberly. Submitted by H. Mason 10/22/14

Autopsy Surgeon Michael Fox appeared in 25 PM episodes. He also played physicians in other television shows...MikeM. 10/13/2016

Memphis Mason: About 22 minutes into this episode (on the DVD) the hapless Walter Sprague character says "The last time I saw Marie..." This line has struck me several times before: it echoes the beginning of the final verse of Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee," released in 1959 (as was this episode) as the B side of "Back in the U.S.A. Although I am sure Mason had nothing to do with it, the song was covered many times a few years later, notably by British bands. JohnK 17 November 2016
+ Good catch !! (although it's actually the penultimate verse). The song being, ironically, about a happy home that was "tore apart" by divorce. Chimed in by Notcom, 110317.

New Wardrobe: With the replacement of the former wardrobe supervisor Dick James by the team of Evelyn Carruth and William Zacha, Della suddenly abandons her neat and professional office attire for a flouncy paisley patio dress featuring yards and yards of gathered skirt. Submitted by catyron 11/4/17

Comments Edit

Gotta love Burger’s bow tie in this one! Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 3/18/2011.

I thought I heard Las Vegas attorney Hibberly say that the residency requirement, for filing for divorce in Nevada, was 44 days. The current requirement appears to be six weeks, or 42 days. Submitted by MikeM, 11/08/2012.

IMHO, especially in profile, Mary La Roche bears a striking resemblace to Joan Crawford. jfh 13Jul2017.

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

Hibberly seemed VERY jovial for someone who knew he'd killed a person! Brrr! Submitted by MikeReese, 9/20/2013

Question: Was Virginia Hobart charged as an accessory in the murder or just fraud? Submitted by H. Mason 10/22/14

Kudos to director Arthur Marks for his use of film noir styling in this one -- there's lots going on with mirrors and shadows. JohnK 17 November 2016

Audio changes The audio quality changes in the 3rd season. The sound almost sounds like it is in confined space (compressed, less bandwidth) compared to the airy sound of prior seasons. I listen with headphones and can easily hear the difference. Submitted by Perry Baby 1/11/18

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