A good episode, the whole “Wintry Wife” angle is wonderful. It would have been better if they'd handled the technology involved differently. Generally I think the Perry Mason series (or any series, past or present) makes a mistake anytime it gives too much detail on “technology” unless they’re prepared to spend a lot of money on the mock-up, computer animation or what-not. Otherwise it tends to date the episode. Another problem is that the technology depicted risks looking ludicrous with the passage of time and thus a distraction to the story. It’s better to just give some vague impression of the technology and let the viewer’s imagination do the rest. Instead of letting us see the “sounding device,” it would have been better to just show Walter pushing some undefined object into the crate, etc. Imagination is always current. Well, unless the technology at issue is something like the automobile or light bulb or garage door openers. Really, it’s best to avoid technological references altogether. In the series’ defense, I‘m sure not in their wildest dreams did they imagine people would be watching Perry Mason 50-plus years later. Submitted by billp, 13 December 2009.
+ Yes, but I'd think many viewers might make allowances for the passage of time (the black-and-white format for almost all episodes is a good clue, after all how many current shows aren't in color?). I got a kick out of Paul Drake using the description "transistorized" when referring to the garage door opener...which to me itself is a bit dated...even if it is the case, how many people refer to devices this way? They did have garage openers before transistors (such as in the movie "They Drive by Night) which came out in 1940 before it was even invented) and you would probably like that they didn't go into detail about their operation in that movie, but also the operation was incidental to the plot (no one was mentioned as inventor for the opener in the movie).We might say "electronic" as opposed to "mechanical" control, but for most items (other than maybe high power items and special amplifiers) most electronics these days involves transistors (maybe in the form of integrated circuits) or at least diodes. You have a point, probably almost no show can predict how popular it might be (whether it will be replayed years later) but I'd guess that's probably the last of the editor's concerns. There are other things (like changes in phrases, how people speak, fashion, etc.) that likewise date the show. I find it adds to my enjoyment, to see how much and in which ways things have changed since the show was produced (maybe because I'm a technical viewer) where appropriate to the plot. Submitted by zwep, 5 December 2023.
Notice that after all that dramatic buildup, we never do see the valve actually open and close by remote control.
The plot device of our murderer needing to be the first on the scene to remove incriminating evidence may have been influenced by Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder of Roger Ackroyd’. DOD 09/21/18
The jailhouse scene with Perry and Phyllis never shows the two of them in the same shot. I wonder if, for scheduling expedience, their bits were filmed separately then spliced together. DOD 12/05/23
+ The countdown to the demonstration in the courtroom had a 60's tech angle to it, and it still manages to build tension today. For me, anyway. JohnK, 30 December 2015
Is it just me or does anyone else think that Private Detective Penner looks a lot like the little old man in the Six Flags commercials? I suppose it could be possible, because IMDB says Paul Barselow is still living at 87 years of age. Submitted by PaulDrake 33, 22 January 2010.
+I don't know about that, but Mr. Barselow’s voice sounded very much like that of Wally Cox! Close your eyes and listen for yourself! Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 5/24/2011.
The Summary above is incorrect. Laura deliberately sent Phyllis to the warehouse, to deliver (unbeknownst) the bomb, and lay in wait for her. The eponymous Wintry Wife was tring to kill two birds with one stone, as it were. Submitted by gracep, 11/4/2010.
+I also was annoyed by the inaccurate plot summary. I've taken it upon myself to correct this summary, as I have several earlier ones. Submitted by 10yearoldfan, 12 October 2012.
+ As the plot summaries are credited as having come from a published work, it is better to leave them as they are and correct them in the comments section, as others have. Submitted by francis,9/12/14.
Perry and Della work late on drafting corporate documents. Interestingly, Paul Drake is also there. Doesn't he have anything better to do with his late nights than watch Perry draft boring documents? cgraul 10.6.11
I have noticed that too, over many episodes, Perry works late and people stay up late--working or arranging social visits at 9:00 or 10:00 at night. Maybe I come from a very un-sophisticated background, but no one would ever work that late on routine business or come by that late for a social call. --yelocab 14FEB19
In the sum-up, Paul uses the phrase "Deadly Device;" might that have been the original title of the episode? cgraul 10.6.11
Interesting - when Perry is in the DA's office, and in the following scene when he sees Phyllis in jail, the camera cuts back and forth from Perry to the other characters; they are never shown in the same shot. Also, in the courtroom scenes, there are several shots of the DA next to the witnesses, but none of Perry. We do briefly see Perry from behind as he addresses Tragg, and two oblique views of him (one with what sounds like a dubbed voice) that could be his double. Burr could easily have filmed all his bits separately. That, plus his absence from the summation scene, makes one wonder if there were some scheduling problems. Also, we get not one but three rare swipe transitions. DOD 09/21/18
If Mrs. Phillips thought her husband and Laura were in a plot of some kind the detective should have followed Laura when she left the house. Laura could have been going to meet Roger. Having the detective watch the house when Laura wasn't there didn't make much sense. Submitted by H. Mason 11/6/14
Would a radio transmitter that small have worked from 35+ miles away? Leaving the gas on would have also risked an explosion and fire when Phyllis might have been in the house. He would at least have given Phyllis something to do outside the house to give her an alibi. But, ignoring those issues, it made for an interesting plot device. --yelocab 14FEB19
TCOT Dubious Demo Frequently Prosecutors on PM complain about his turning the proceedings into "a circus"; here, tho, it seems like the point is valid: after spending considerable effort (and what must have been an astronomical amount of money in hiring a helicopter) on the demonstration, Perry announces that it couldn't have happened that way..the batteries were being charged. (Not some sudden revelation, the witness to it had already been secured). So why go to all the effort, when a simpler, safer experiment from a shorter distance would have made more sense ?? Indeed, the experiment would have backfired altogether if 35 miles ended up being out-of-range. Hmmm, Notcom 021820.
+I may have an answer. The most obvious point is 'dramatic effect' and it acts as a red herring for the audience. But another point is Paul states in the epilogue that Sheridan and his girlfriend were up on Mulholland Drive when he turn off and then turned on the gas which implies he was at least a few miles away.
By demonstrating that the transmitter worked from 40 miles away, it would make it easy to believe that Sheridan could have done it as well. Plus, it helps that Sheridan was caught off guard and ready to roast his buddy when Perry turns the tables on him. Submitted by Kenmore 7/27/2021.
++I’m sure that Perry knew a helicopter pilot who owed him a favor and was happy to make it available. ;). Submitted by Rickapolis 11/03/21
+ Deus ex Machina - literally Personally I thought the explanation of the murder was ridiculous and unbelieveable. But overall I did like the episode. I have only rewatched about a thrid of the episodes recently, but I can't imagine a more dispicable victim than Laura. A monster. Rick P 12/19/21