Did not enjoy this episode for many reasons. Lisa Gaye was not believable as the indignant daughter of a political refugee. Her phony outrage that a "Hollywood lawyer" was assigned to her father's case was hindered by her limitations as an actress. Something also a bit ironic about her anger over a lawyer who is used to holding hands with "tempermental starlets." Don't look now dear, but isn't that you? The depth of her faux outrage was suspicious until it became clear that they were setting up a Tracey/Hepburn arc for her and the Hollywood lawyer. Once she saw that he actually knew what he was doing, it no longer made sense for her to continue throwing pointed barbs at him. Ms Gaye is just more believable as a scheming bad girl type. Incidentally, if her father is still "practically a stranger in this country," why did she look and act like a California Valley Girl?
And Hugh O'Brien's contrived Rambo-like acting style was about 2 decades too late. Somebody needed to tell him that it was 1963 not 1943. Strutting around like he's a tough guy and speaking in clipped tones to everyone. He kept pausing for effect after saying his lines. In fact his lines sounded obviously overdubbed. It became embarrassing. He desperately wanted to be a leading man in a spy show. Then he literally put on his lawyer's uniform entering a room with dark sunglasses on. It just seemed so amateur. PM is normally much smarter than this.
The story asked us to believe that a world leader from the Eastern Bloc was allowed to ride on a children's ride alone? Even if a world leader DID do that, he would never have gone alone. I realize it was a set-up, but it seems unusual that US officials didn't veto the idea for their own security reasons. Nobody wants to get blamed if a Cold War rival is killed on US soil. Even the airport protestors would not be able to get anywhere near him. If you look back at Khrushchev's visit to the US, everything was strictly controlled to prevent what happened in this episode. The doppelganger bit also seemed forced to create suspense. If they were twin brothers, it might have been a bit more believable. To enjoy a show like this you have to identify and sympathize with at least one character. It was just impossible in this episode. The whole thing was like a bad Robert Ludlum novel. Submitted by DellaMason
A mobile unit of KNXT television news is stationed in front of Laban's house early in the episode. KNXT Channel 2 Los Angeles was the real-world CBS Television Network station carrying Perry Mason when this episode #171 first aired (see this ad by CBS TV in the Television Age issue of August 5, 1963). Here is a thumbnail history of CBS TV in Los Angeles:
- In 1949-50, CBS programming was carried by network affiliate KTTV Ch11, Los Angeles.
- In 1950, CBS sold its 49% interest in KTTV and bought KTSL from Don Lee Broadcasting. CBS-owned-&-operated KTSL Ch2 took over full CBS programming on 1 Jan 1951.
- On 28 Oct 1951 KTSL changed its call-letters to KNXT, a common-sense change to conform to the call-letters of KNX, the long-established CBS Radio Network station in Los Angeles.
- On 2 Apr 1984 KNXT changed its call-letters to KCBS-TV (partial ref: wiki article).
During the years of the Perry Mason series, the KNXT station was located:
- through to the end of the 1950's, in rented studios in the north half of the Don Lee Mutual Broadcasting Building at 1313 N Vine St, Hollywood (now the Pickford Center) and
- from the early '60s, with KNX Radio at CBS Columbia Square, 6121 Sunset Boulevard.
. Before the '60s, news coverage on television was extraordinarily sparse, amounting to an hour or less per day on any given channel.
- Here is a KNXT evening schedule for June 16-30, 1956. The 45 minutes total daily news coverage is perfectly typical of TV news programming across the US during the 50s: two 15-min local sessions plus one 15-min network news show. (The building pictured on the morning schedule page is CBS Television City, although KNXT's studios weren't located there.)
- came in 1961 when KNXT expanded its evening local newscast "The Big News" to 45 minutes, being the first station in the US to do so.
- In 1963, KNXT further expanded "The Big News" to an hour.
I recommend Bill Harvey's article 'The Big News' was big news in broadcast world, Los Angeles Times May 22, 2011. Submitted by Gary Woloski, 8/22/13.
+Thanks, Gary. That was well-researched and of interest. Submitted by catyron, 05/05/18
Telephone Call: Why did Paul send Della to find a telephone? What happened to his car phone seen in episodes 107 and 157? Submitted by H. Mason 1/17/15
+ My husband and I noticed that too -- a gross continuity fail! Submitted by catyron, 05/05/18
++ Maybe he: A - Didn't want to phone while he drove away or B - Forgot to pay his bill ;-) OLEF641 5/25/21
Hugh O’Brien looks mighty tasty in that shredded shirt! And Lt Anderson stole Paul Drake’s “one way ticket to the gas chamber” line. Must say though that, like most of these “international intrigue” episodes, this show was unsatisfying and a bit silly. And if I had to hear Volney Papers one more time!...worse than that Purple Woman or Weary Watchdog. DOD 01/08/21
+This is my all-time least favorite episode. Constant repetition of "Mr/Herr Umdrehen" for starters, the McGuffin (sorry) Volney Papers, and, finally, the far-fetched espionage story, especially the convoluted end. OLEF641 5/25/21
The Summary gives away way too much information. It shouldn't mention "doppelganger" at all. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 11/13/2013.
+I never got the impression the foreign characters were Russian. Added by H. Mason 1/17/15
"Have you been injured in an accident?" I chuckled when Alyssa Laban asked Bruce Jason if it was ethical for lawyers to advertise. Whenever I watch Perry Mason on MeTV, I'll see several ads from ambulance-chasing lawyers. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 11/13/2013 (revised 10-29-2014)
Yet another episode in which the very traditional courtroom set bears no relation to the contemporary court building exterior.
Frankly ridiculous that a visiting official would be visiting an amusement park like this, going on rides by himself.
"The Office of Strategic Services was initiated by General William J. Donovan with the approval...of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to...provide intelligence needed for wartime activities...Branches of the OSS included SI (Secret Intelligence), SO (Special Operations), OG (Operational Groups) & MO (Morale Operations)," www.ossog.org states. CIA.gov observes that OSS employed 13,000 (including 4,500 women); 7,500 served overseas (including 900 females) & the agency spent $135 Million during its 4 years of operation. Following OSS's post-war disbandment, the National Security Act of 1947 created the CENTRAL Intelligence Agency as our 1st Permanent, Civilian espionage entity. Mike Bedard 2.7.15.
Wrongful Role: I'm Lisa Gaye's biggest fan, and she's beautiful when angry. But she falls short playing righteous indignation in this episode. Much better as the petulant wife as in TCOT Traveling Treasure. JohnK, 25 October 2015
+She's also beautiful when she's not angry, but not even her presence can salvage this gobbler of an episode. Submitted by BobH, 5 March 2017.
+ She was just awful as the petulant little girl.-woman Ugh. A pretty face does not an actress make. Submitted by catyron, 05/05/18
The "Blacked-Out" headlights on the taxi, Car(1), are probably high-beam headlamps with high-color-density RED lenses. A few references I've found (police car photo books, etc) indicate that circa-1962/63 a few US states allowed emergency vehicles to use warning-light systems of this nature. The low-beam (uncolored) and high-beam (red) headlamps would alternately flash. Added by Gary Woloski, 11/13/15.
Learning from the Master This is perhaps the series' purest example of a MacGuffin:
we hear about the Volney Papers - God do we hear about them...over and over again !! - but we never really learn what's in them or if they're as important as everyone thinks. Submitted by Notcom, 030916.
FORT DIX, NJ was mentioned as the starting point for the OSS operation: PFC John F. Bedard met Margaret Tighe at a FD dance and later married. Mike Bedard 5.28.16.
"A Case of (Mixed-Up) Identity." Just to add to the infinite confusion of this episode's plot, it would have been appropriate if it had been revealed in the epilogue that the killer was actually Earl Mauldin in disguise. (See Episode #74, TCOT Startled Stallion.) Submitted by BobH, 5 March 2017.
By this 3rd Perry-less episode, you REALLY want him back! Of course the writers were desperately scrambling to produce new last-minute scripts featuring 'guest' lawyers shaped around big actors who also had to be rounded up at short notice. By this episode they were giddily indulging in international espionage foolishness--Dr. No had been a big hit the year before, after all. Hugh O'Brian (clearly hoping for a new show of his own) swaggers around like a James Bond clone, and it's very creepy the way he gloms onto Lisa Gaye and hauls her off at the end like a war prize. ckbtao 7/19/20
I must agree with those who find this episode less than successful. What I find surprising is my wife likes it so much. Well, maybe not. If I can admire Lisa Gaye she can admire Hugh O’Brian. Submitted by Rickapolis 02/09/23