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CARS: 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner retractable, black (Mason),
1957 Ford Custom Fordor, black. From The Cars by Greg Cockerill. Some pictures here.
+ Evelyn drives a late 1940's car, a Ford I think. It has "three on a tree", a 3 speed, column mount manual transmission. You can clearly see this when she runs out to the car from her apartment and drives away. She smoothly throws it into reverse and backs out. It was assumed, in the 50's and 60's, that every driver could drive a standard. Many Mason episodes feature stick shift cars, from 1950's Ford and Chevy models (taxis, police cars etc) to Jeeps and VWs. My wife and I learned on a "three on a tree" (yes, I'm that old). I drove a 3 speed until 1989, and finally switched to an automatic in 2007! Submitted by Bill-W2XOY on 08/13/2013.
+I believe Evelyn is driving a 1941 Mercury Eight Convertible. Added by oldgray on 02/25/2014.
Goof: In the office scene after Tragg impatiently arrives, look for a T-shaped mark on the floor when Della goes to pour the coffee for Tragg. Oops! Picture here. Posted by Dedra Kaye DeHart to the Della-Perry group, 10/14/07.
Did you notice? The Court Clerk is also the Court Reporter. Seems odd. Submitted by daveb, 10/6/08.
Uncredited Actors: Note that Lee Miller, who has often played Sgt. Brice, makes his first appearance in the opening credits as a spectator. He’s seated near the window. Later we see him in the episode as a plainclothes policeman examining the pillow-case where the victim’s car went off the road. Still later we see him again in plainclothes as a spectator in the courtroom. He’s seated in the section behind the defense, 2nd row, aisle seat, behind Vaughn Taylor (Mr. Boles). Submittd by PaulDrake33, 9 September 2009.
+We see Bert Stevens coming out the door at the Studio with Distinguished Lady # 2. Submitted by BigBill767, Nov 11, 2016.
Sightings: Also note in the same section (see above item), in approx. the middle of the last row, is a lady who frequently plays a matron on the series—when she isn’t being a spectator. Does anyone know her name? Submitted by PaulDrake 33. 9 September 2009.
+ I don't know her name, but she is now known as Distinguished Lady #2. See more about her on the “Who Is That?” page. Submitted by daveb, 9/24/10.
++ You can see more shots of her throughout the rest of the scene after Perry recalls Mr. Boles back to the witness stand. To me, the more I paid attention and saw the woman in question, she sure seems to look younger, has a skinnier face, and does not look as "matronly" as Distinguished Lady #2. I'd vote it's Miss Carmody (especialy the last couple of times I saw her towards the end)! ;-> Submitted by mesave31, 03/20/15
++ It is definitely Distinguished Lady #2. Submitted by BigBill767, Nov 11, 2016.
+++ We may be getting our first glimpse of Distinguished Gentleman #1 -- I'm pretty sure that's his toupee -- early in this initial episode, as one of the poker players in Paul Drake's apartment. JohnK, 24 November 2015
++++Distinguished Gentleman #1 is sitting in the courtroom to the left of the door as the bailiff, if that's his job title, enters at the beginning of the preliminary examination scene. Pencil Mustache Man is seated to the right of the door. Distinguished Gentleman #2 appears to be sitting in the front row of spectators on the defense side during the same scene. Submitted by JazzBaby, 6/29/2019.
Ironic, both Whitney Blake and Gloria Henry sport dark hair in this episode, however each would find their greatest fame as blonde mothers. Whitney Blake as Dorothy Baxter on Hazel and of course, Gloria Henry as Alice Mitchell on Dennis The Menace. Submitted by PaulDrake 33, 9 September 2009.
Uncredited Actors: Bess Flowers makes one of six appearances on Perry Mason in this initial episode. She’s the Woman Departing Magnum Studio. She also appeared in “Negligent Nymph” (Miss Miller, DA Stenographer), “Fiery Fingers” (Women dining in restaurant), “Lonely Eloper” (Birthday party guest), “Shoplifter's Shoe” (Department Store customer) and “Frustrated Folksinger” (Woman at party). Besides these appearances, she also appeared with Raymond Burr in Rear Window. She’s the songwriter’s party guest with the poodle. This lady appeared in over 779 films! She appeared in more films that won the Best Picture Oscar than anyone else. Submitted by billp, 15 November 2009.
Guns: At first blush, “the fatal gun” looks like a .38 Colt Detective Special snub nose revolver to me. (Perry calls it a .38 Colt snub-nose.) This model turns up in countless film noir and early television dramas. However, the serial number Perry tells Paul at the beginning of the episode is 17474LW. LW stands for “light weight,” or aluminum frame, I believe. It appears to be a real Colt serial number. If I understand the “numerology” correctly, this gun would have been made in 1952. However, this serial number would correspond to the Colt Cobra or Aircrewman and not the Detective Special. These guns were also “snub-nose.” So if we go by what Perry says the serial number is, it’s either a Cobra or Aircrewman. At this point, I’m inclined to believe Perry gave the actual serial number of the gun he had. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to find that gun today? Even so, the gun looks somewhat beat up to me. Submitted by billp, 25 November 2009.
+ "One time years ago, I was watching the episode and looked up the serial number in a big Colt coffee table book I had. The Colt is definitely an "aircrewman" according to my book." Submitted by Jim via email, posted by daveb, 6/28/11.
+The guns used in the episode were early (pre-1933) Colt Detective Specials, as evidenced by their square butts. After 1933 the Detective Special's butt was rounded, for better concealment. The Aircrewman was an alloy frame,aluminum cylinder version of the DS made for Air Force crews to save weight.The aluminum cylinder did not work well in practice,and the Aircrewman was discontinued. They are rare collectors' item. The Cobra,on the other hand, although also alloy framed,had the steel cylinder of the original DS and was made from 1950 to 1981. Most Cobras you see are two inch barreled "snub-nosed" .38 Specials, and were readily available. The "character" gun was almost certainly supposed to be a Colt Cobra,but the prop department,going by the script,brought out the Detective Specials. Regards, SteveP 15 February 2013
+Actually some first generation Detective Specials were produced with square butt Police Positive Special frames even after the introduction of the round butt frame in 1933, and this practice continued through the war years. Evidently when they were short of round butt frames, they just grabbed a square butt and screwed a short barrel on it. Colt and S&W didn't hesitate to substitute components when the need arose. Further complicating figuring out the specific guns on this episode, Police Positive Specials were produced to order with snubby barrels prior to the introduction of the Detective Special in 1927. Submitted by oldgray, 02/25/2014
+ The serial number 17474-LW was taken from the novel where the gun was described by Mason as "one of those new aluminum alloy jobs...This is the Colt 'Cobra.' A gun that...weighs only fifteen ounces." Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 9/22/14.
+ The Colt website categorizes this serial number in this manner: 1952 "COBRA MODEL/AIRCREWMAN/COURIER/AGENT & VIPER ""LW"" SUFFIX IS FOUND BELOW SERIAL STAMP"; Submitted by HamBurger, 07/15/2017
+ Erle Stanley Gardner said that when he was writing his novels, he decided to purchase any weapon he planned to use as a fictional murder weapon. He said that would allow him to give accurate serial numbers for authenticity, while protecting himself from being sued by anyone owning a weapon with that serial number...MikeM. 4/20/2018
The absence of 1958 model cars in the episode coupled with Perry wearing a hat places this episode in the first (1957 Ford) set of episodes filmed in the first season. The supposition this is no earlier than the third episode filmed is still looking pretty good. (In fact, I’m thinking it is, more likely than not, the 3rd filmed). Submitted by billp 29 November 2009.
Sightings: In the courtroom gallery, spotted before we had this tag by PaulDrake 33, is Distinguished Lady #2 seated near the middle of the back row. She’s best seen just as Mr. Boles stands up near the end. She’s also seen walking along the street outside Perry’s office and coming out a door at the studio. Also, Pencil Mustache Man is seated first in the last row behind Lee Miller [see above]. Blue Collar Guy appears as “Joe” the Brent Building parking attendant. More about these people on the “Who Is That?” page. Submitted by daveb, 9/24/2010. Updated by alan_sings, 9/26/2010.
+ Distinguished Gentleman #1 is one of the first people we see in Court. I also like to think that he may be one of Paul Drake’s card-playing friends at his apartment (sitting on his right). Updated by evelyne, 2/1/2011.
+ Little Old Lady #2 appears as Helene Chaney’s dresser “Doris.” She has two scenes, but not a line to say, alas. Submitted by evelyne, 2/3/2011.
+ We can add Distinguished Gentleman #2 to the list of first-timers appearing in the courtroom gallery. Submitted by gracenote, 8/20/2011.
Uncredited Actors: Don Anderson gets his first appearance in the Mason series as a uniformed policeman at the crime scene, a role he played fairly often in the early episodes. He gets to do a bit of business when Mason saunters over to a group of officers examining the pillowcase/hood. Mason asks Anderson for a match then, as he light his cigarette, takes a closer look at the hood and spots the “Villa España” embroidery. Submitted by FredK, 29 September 2010.
Set Dressing: The wood paneling behind Perry’s desk is “pecky cypress”—apparently pretty popular mid-20th century. It may have been considered a high-end or up-market product, thus very suitable for a high-powered lawyer like Perry. Interestingly enough, it was also popular for lodges or cabins. When we consider Perry’s penchant for fishing etc., it fits that aspect of his personality, too. In either case, high-end or lodge, it is appropriate material for Perry’s office. It’s described as having “character,” and I believe it very rough or “textured.” Pecky cypress gets its name from the hollowing of cypress trees by a fungus which destroys the wood. The fungus attacks the core of the trees resulting in “pecky” vertical channels, whence the textured effect. The cross sections of pecky logs resemble swiss cheese. The wood seems to have a reddish blond/yellowish cast. Check out this tabletop to get an idea how the surface looks. Also see here. Submitted by billp, 13 November 2010.
The "horses" bas-relief in Perry's office or its twin appears in the very good 1957 20th Century film "Desk Set" starring Tracy and Hepburn. You see the bas-relief during the "Mr. Azae's office scene" which begins about 16 minutes into the film. A cursory viewing indicates a number of other items in Azae's office also appear in "Perry Mason," e.g., the ceiling lamp over the circular table in Perry's office, the circular table itself and the accompanying chairs. My impression is other items in Azae's office also appear in various episodes of Perry Mason. I'm assuming the scenes in "Desk Set" were filmed prior to the Mason series. I note Lyle Wheeler was the Art Director/Production Designer for both "Desk Set" and these early "Perry Mason" episodes. Submitted by billp, 29 July 2012.
Perry's Rauland Amplicall is also present in "Desk Set." It's the phone Mr. Azae uses to call his secretary. Submitted by billp, 2 August 2012.
Glovebox Guns: Mervyn Aldritch has the distinction of being the first person in the show to have his gun stolen from the glove compartment in his car. Let the count begin! Submitted by evelyne, 2/1/2011.
+And Sybil Granger was the 2nd only 2 episodes later in Nervous Accomplice! Mike Bedard 3.24.15
Ironically, Whitney Blake, the “Restless Redhead,” played the “Black-eyed Blonde” the following season. Submitted by cgraul, 8/22/2011.
+ The following year (1958) but the same season (first). Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 3/22/15.
Syndication Cuts: Minor edits include: Della arrives at the office, Drake phones in and hasn't traced the gun, Mason calls Gertie to have his car brought around, Mason tells Joe to park his car, Miss Chaney calls Aldritch. Also cut is the entire Eucalyptus Grove Motel scene. Hallmark apparently obtains the syndicated version, then adds more cuts of their own: Scenes of Drake's phone operator talking to Evelyn, Mason talking to Miss Chaney outside of the studio (see spoiler notes below) and about 22 seconds during the conversation between Mason, Burger and the judge about a personal relationship Burger and Mason are reluctant to introduce. In addition to the added cuts, the Hallmark version appears to be time-compressed. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 6/30/12.
In Mason's office Evelyn tells Perry she told Harry Merrill if he didn't give her her money back she'd go to the police. Later in Evelyn's apartment Perry says she wrote him a letter demanding money but Evelyn never mentioned a letter before. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 9/22/14.
Switching guns This was the first of three stories where it happened. It was also done in episodes 33 and 87. Submitted by H. Mason 9/27/14
WEDDING RINGS: The one married couple in this story, Vinnie and Lewis Boles, both wore a wedding band. This was not the norm. In most episodes throughout the series the married woman wore a ring of some kind where a wedding ring should be and the man did not. Some interesting circumstances were seen in a few of the stories. In 34 TCOT Gilded Lily - Charles Stewart Brent talked about how much he loved his new bride. He didn't wear a ring. In 47 TCOT Jilted Jockey - Francis "Tic" Barton was so proud to be married to Gloria. He didn't wear a ring. Della pretended to be married in two stories. In 35 TCOT Lazy Lover - while posing as Mabel Fleetwood she did not wear a wedding ring. In 66 TCOT Deadly Toy - while pretending to be married to Perry (who called himself Mr. Street) she did wear a ring on her finger. Perry only wore his pinkie ring. Submitted by H. Mason 9/29/14
Pinky rings are seen on Perry, Paul, the opening credit judge, the cop who gives Perry a light, Mr. Aldritch and Mr. Boles...MikeM. 7/8/2016
The court oath is given with "so help you God" at the end. In most later PM shows that phrase would not be spoken...MikeM. 7/8/2016
Closing credits show products appearing alternately in a window in the lower left corner: Sweetheart bar soap ; New Blue Dutch Cleanser; "trend" laundry detergent; and Beads o' Bleach...MikeM. 7/8/2016
ESG: "The Case of the Restless Redhead" was Perry Mason novel #43, published in 1954. Submitted by catyron 11/2/2017
Crew Visible: As Perry drives up in front of the Brent building the legs/feet of a member of the film crew can be seen reflected in the car door. Submitted by Kilo 2/19/2018.
+ Also, in the same scene when Paul is talking to Perry, an "extra" wearing a hat can be seen over Paul's shoulder reflected in a glass window waiting for his cue to enter the scene. He then walks behind Paul and enters the Brent building. Kilo 11/21/2018.
This is the only PM writing credit for Russell S. Hughes, who was born in Cincinnati in 1910. Russell Hughes wrote many radio scripts before writing for films and television. Russell Hughes died in Studio City on 16 April 1958 at the age of 48...MikeM. 4/20/2018