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EpisodePages/Show71

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<< Spurious Sister | Episodes | Garrulous Gambler >>

#71: The Case of the
Watery Witness
Original Airdate: 10/10/59

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Fay Wray plays Lorna Thomas, a slightly washed-up movie star who once abandoned her baby only to live—and die—to regret it.

When George Clark finds out that his wife, Betty, may be the long-lost daughter of Lorna Thomas, he starts to see dollar signs floating in front of his eyes. He goes to see Perry, but learns that since Betty was legally given up for adoption, she has no chance of inheriting her mother’s fortune. Both George and Betty are heartbroken; he over the money, she over the rejection.

When Lorna is murdered, Tragg thinks motive, then arrests George.

Credits Edit

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

Opening

Starring Raymond Burr
In The Case of THE WATERY WITNESS
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

Trailing

Directed by Richard Kinon
Written by Jackson Gillis
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

Cast

Fay Wray as Lorna Thomas
Douglas Dick as Fred Bushmiller
Malcolm Atterbury as Dennis Briggs
Lester Vail as Tony Raeburn
Dusty Anders as Betty Clark
John Bryant as George Clark
Kathryn Card as Harriet Snow
Charles J. Conrad as Judge
Ned Glass as Mr. Smith
Pat Moran as Court Clerk
Paul B. Kennedy as Court Stenographer

Uncredited Actors
Lee Miller as Sgt. Brice

Crew

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 … Irving Pringle
Hair Stylist … Annabell, S.C.H.
Set Decoration … Charles Q. Vassar
Sound Effects Editor … Gene Eliot, M.P.S.E.
Music Editor … Gene Feldman
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … Robert Gary

PERRY MASON
A CBS Television Network Production

Trivia Edit

At the beginning of the show as Fred Bushmiller is walking up Lorna Thomas' driveway, he walks right past the same Edsel automobile that Marie Chapman drove in the previous episode. Submitted by PaulDrake 33.

Location: Yet another episode with some exterior scenes filmed at what looks like Malibou Lake. See the The Lakes for more. Submitted by daveb, 9/2/2009.

Location: The area of the lakeside cottage Perry stayed at in “TCOT Angry Mourner” was reused in this episode. When Della arrives, driving Perry's Cadillac, at the cottage in “Angry Mourner”, note the pylon/lightpost near the water with the curious top that reminds one of a lighthouse; also the surrounding low wall. In this episode, when Perry and Della talk with Raeburn at the waterside, the same pylon is visible. So the site was reused. If someone takes a boat-ride around Malibou Lake today perhaps they might identify this pylon—if it still exists. Submitted by billp, 3 June 2011.
+ The cottage/cabin also turns up in “TCOT Angry Dead Man.” By the way, I wonder if that bag of cement is still there? Submitted by billp, 9 June 2011.

Sightings: A recurring courtoom spectator, affectionately known as the Little Old Lady in a Hat can be seen shifting behind Hamilton Burger as he chuckles at a remark made by a witness. Later she is seen behind Mr. Briggs. Another one known as Quiet Old Man (#1) appears sitting near the aisle as Paul Drake brings in a witness. As for a third spectator, Distinguished Gentleman #1, we can barely see him in the back row, behind Burger. More about these recurring spectators here. Submitted by gracep 9/8/2010.
+“Miss Carmody” can be seen at the right end of the first row of the gallery at the end of the episode when the Clarks are embracing. Submitted by alan_sings 3 Oct 2010.
+ The Thin Man appears as the police photographer at the murder scene. Submitted by alan_sings 9 Oct 2010.
+ Both Distinguished Lady #2 and Quiet Old Man #2 sit in the back row of the courtroom gallery, and they look very astonished and turn their heads when some shocking testimony is given. Submitted by gracenote, 8/8/2011.

Uncredited Actors: Strong and silent Sgt. Brice (Lee Miller) turns up at the scene of the crime. Submitted by gracenote, 8/8/2011.

CARS. (1) 1959 Edsel Corsair 2-Door HardTop, light color body w/med color roof, parked at Lorna Thomas Lake Club.

. . . and YES: Ford really did put all those tags on Perry's car! Added by Gary Woloski, 7/28/12.

This episode receives the syndication chop really bad. While watching the show 1/25/2012 on MY212 Harrisburg PA the very start of the show is removed. We never see Malcolm Atterbury & Fay Wray arguing as alluded to in the scene by the pool & later in court!! Added by GeoffS 1/26/2012.

+ There are some inconsistent edits in the original episode as well: at 24:31 Raeburn is shown holding his glasses chest-high and a newspaper. When the shot changes to a close-up the hand holding his glasses is below his waist and the newspaper shifts position; in Perry's office Paul is standing behind Perry in the long shots but in front in the close-ups and at 37:46 when the shot switches to a close-up, Drake's arms move from hanging straight down to folded at the wrists. His gaze shifts from looking in Perry's direction to directly at Smith and his body position turns toward Smith instantly as well. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 5/5/13.

In-Joke? Actor Ned Glass gets to say his name in the episode. When describing Lorna's jewelry his character Smith says "Junk. Glass. Paste." Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 5/5/13.

Parts of Bernard Herrmann's score for the pilot episode of The Twilight Zone "Where Is Everybody?" (broadcast only a week earlier than "The Watery Witness") can be heard at 2:01, 27:34 and 48:37. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 5/5/13.

Kathryn Card appeared ten times as Lucy Ricardo's mother on the half-hour and hour versions of I Love Lucy. She also appeared earlier in 1959 in the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Deadly Toy." Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 5/6/13.

Choked: This story had the second consecutive murder by strangulation. It is the second episode of the third season. Were the writers trying to balance the totals? There was only one victim known to have been strangled in the first 69 episodes (#56 - third victim in TCOT Romantic Rogue). Note: there were a few murders in those 69 stories (about 6) where the method was not mentioned. Submitted by H. Mason 10/23/14

This is the first of four PM directing credits for Richard Kinon...MikeM. 10/14/2016

Comments Edit

Though not the most dynamic, this episode strikes me as one of the better-plotted and therefore pleasing ones. All of the characters behave consistently, Perry doesn’t have to pull any previously unknown facts out of his hat at the last minute, and the audience doesn’t have to figure out any puzzling loose ends at the finale. Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 3/18/2011.

In this episode Fay Wray demonstrates why she is one of the most gifted yet underrated actresses. She delivers an Emmy-worthy performance. Submitted by francis, 2/29/12.

The mysterious Raphael O'Connor. Some interesting history regarding the Irish in South America. http://www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/magazine/articles/ir_stham.htm Submitted by Mason Jar 5/8/2012

Another story with questions about the future of some of the characters. What happened to Fred Bushmiller? With Lorna dead, what happened to Harriet Snow and Dennis Briggs? Did they get proceeds from the lake property? Was Betty entitled to any of the estate? Submitted by H. Mason 10/23/14

Sunset Similarities? This story has many elements in common with Sunset Boulevard, the acclaimed film from 1950. I'm a writer, although not a screenwriter, and it bugs me that the PM people borrowed so freely from the hard-won ideas of others. I wonder what the reviews said at the time. JohnK, 17 December 2015

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