While “processing” this episode today, I was impressed by its high production values. There were many extras and elaborate sets. And, if I didn’t miscount, there were seven uncredited actors with speaking parts. daveb, 5/20/09.
+ And an actual 12-person jury -- the expense of which was later cut from the series. cgraul 6.7.12
I agree with you about the sets. There seemed to be a real attempt at individuality in the first years. Later, the same sets and props would keep reappearing to an almost comical extent. There are even some shows in the final years in which props such as lamps and furniture are used on different sets in the same show.DOD 05/10/18
The courtroom set used for the trial scenes in this episode (and other early ones) was larger than the sets used later, so there were more spectator gallery rows as well as a jury box that needed to be filled with extras. And if my memory is correct (and it isn't always) the unbilled Spanish-speaking good Samaritan who helps at the accident later turned up as one of the villagers protected by the Magnificent Seven in that classic Western. Submitted by FredK 8 June 2012.
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg (my favorite character in the series) does his usual excellent job of communicating acerbic professionalism. cgraul 6.7.12
Oddly enough, while a good many bit players in this episode who spoke received no billing, Rusty Westcoatt as Sgt. Holcombe was in the cast list though he had no actual lines aside from an almost inaudible word with Tragg. Submitted by FredK 8 June 2012.
Random Musings: When Perry tells Della to fasten her seat belt, I presume he was speaking metaphorically, since as I recall cars typically didn't have seat belts in 1957. When he hands the accident victim his card, he says "I'm not looking for business, I just want to be helpful." Can you imagine any of today's ambulance-chasing lawyers saying that? This is especially funny since the MeTV Perry Mason broadcasts I'm watching typically contain several ads for ambulance-chasing lawyers ("Been injured in an accident? Pain and suffering? Great! This is a potential financial windfall for you! I'm lawyer Whiplash Willie. Call me! Don't settle for a tiny check. I'll get you a BIG check!"). I love that periscope thingy that Perry's gang uses to spy on the room across the hall. I guess peepholes hadn't been invented yet. I'm surprised Perry lets his client dress like that in court. It does make for some nice eye candy however, especially when she stands next to the other Lois Fenton. Paul seems to be enjoying the view. Speaking of Paul, once again we seem him in court slouching disrespectfully in his chair. C'mon Paul; sit up straight!. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 3-26-2014.
+ Seatbelts. Ford first offered a seatbelt option in the 1955 model-year. In 1956, seatbelts became an optional addition to the optional Lifeguard safety package. Cursory research indicates price varying from about $6/seatbelt in 1956 declining to $1/sb in 1959. "In a survey of 1957 Ford owners in the March, 1957 issue of Popular Mechanics, only 6.2% of owners ordered seat belts." (ref: Standard Catalog at your public library). I bet that part of the 6.2% were ambulance-chasing lawyers. Added by Gary Woloski, 3/26/14.
+The real Lois Fenton spends the entire episode in the same dress, at least until her fan dancing finale when she wears her . . . fans. Maybe the reason Perry lets Lois dress like that in court is because it's the only dress in her wardrobe. Submitted by BobH, 29 December 2015.
Helpful Perry II: When the boardinghouse landlady asks if Perry has a badge, he replies that he's a lawyer and that he just wants to help.
+ Fasten your seatbelts was also a famous line, uttered by Margo Channing (Bette Davis) to her party guests, from the movie All About Eve in 1950. jfh 10May2018.
+ Referring to airline passenger seatbelts, I'm guessing. Gary Woloski, 5/11/18.
Perry warns his Female client that she may end up in TEHACHAPI if she doesn't start cooperating: "At the end of 'The Maltese Falcon' Humphrey Bogart turns to femme fatale & murderer Mary Astor and says, 'If you get a break you'll be out of TEHACHAPI in 20 years...I hope they don't hang you, precious, by the neck.'...The California Institution for Women, TEHACHAPI, was the Only Women's prison in the state of California," observes muse.jhu.edu ("Hard Times At Tehachapi: California's First Women's Prison" review). Mike Bedard 4.10.15
"You know, Paul, the Trouble with Lawyers is they're Too Skeptical," said Perry. Mike Bedard 4.10.15
Why would anyone reading an ad for "property of a fan dancer" assume it referred to a horse?
In my opinion, about the most convoluted story line of any episode. I read the book and just couldn't imagine how it could be comprehensively adapted for TV - not sure they were completely successful.
Also, the only episode I recall in which we never do learn for certain who the killer is - we just get Perry’s theory. DOD 05/10/18
+ Callender was missing his horse, the property of his wife, a former fan dancer. But of course, the author of the ad would have had to have know that the horse belonged to her and she had been a fan dancer (if the author had found a horse). So, in that respect, it was a stretch. --yelocab 25OCT19
Tremors: There must have been a minor earthquake while filming this episode. When John Callender is speaking to Gertie at her desk watch the hanging lamp in the background. It starts swaying and shaking on its own! Kilo 12/5/2018.
+ somebody moving about in the overhead scaffolding who shouldn't have been while filming was going on . . . it is quite funny when you know to look for it. OLEF641 10/17/2020
As Perry is questioning Irene on the stand, her beauty mark disappears. --yelocab 25OCT19
HAMILTON [irate]: Are you now claiming that Arthur Sheldon killed John Callendar?
PERRY: I'm not claiming a thing! I'm just trying to get the defendant in this case acquitted. As far as the murder case is concerned, you are quite at liberty to solve it.
I believe the syndicated version cuts the next line of dialogue:
HAMILTON: Ray, didn't you get the memo? You're supposed to solve the murder case. By the way, I get to lose every case I try against you for the next 8 seasons!
Seriously, I really enjoy the fact that this episode leaves the actual killer an open question. They haven't quite set the formula yet. Great episode. Old Dave, 6/9/20
+ Actually, if you listen carefully to the final scene, it was Jasper who killed Callendar: to quote Paul: ". . Jasper picked up the sword and pushed it through the open fan that Callendar held in front of him." OLEF641 1]/17/2020