When her husband falls down drunk, Ellen asks the team to do what you should never do from someone with a drinking problem, namely, clean him up and put him to bed. Then to compound the problem, she asks the coach to give him tranquilizers as they carry him to his berth. What were people thinking? Submitted by gracenote, 5/19/2011.
How did Burt come into ownership of 10% of the team?
Drumm pronounces Los Angeles with the rather affected hard “G”. DOD 04/28/21
The Summary claims that “Perry actually runs as he and Paul chase a shadoway figure,“ but in fact that is probably Lee Miller, Burr’s stand-in, who jumps out of the bushes. It’s kind of confusing because it appears to be Sgt. Brice who is doing the chasing at first, and then it becomes Perry Mason. Submitted by graceote, 5/19/2011.
+ Paul also runs and it actually appears as if it's actually William Hopper doing his own running --- and doing a mighty fine job of it! jfh 25Jul2018.
Speaking of Sgt. Brice, the producers gave Lee Miller a little tribute in this episode. In a moment unrelated to anything in the script, Sgt. Brice drops by the table in Clay's Grill where Perry, Paul and Della are sitting and flirts a bit with Della. A brief and most charming gesture. Submitted by francis, 3/28/13.
In the opening scene I expected to hear the conductor call out "Anaheim, Azusa, and Cu----camonga!"
Like the Brent Building, Mr. Skeen’s building is an architectural oddity - balconies on the inside, but not the outside!
Perry flew to Oxnard? DOD 04/14/20
When Hamilton and Perry drink coffee, Hamilton says he needs sugar. He grabs a packet, but sips the coffee again without ever adding the sugar. Otto Gervaert, 4/28/21.
The Wildcats will play before a very large crowd in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Earlier, their return trip to LA started from somewhere north of Salinas (like San Francisco?). Given their prosperity and evident length of the trip, why did they go by train rather than by plane? This was of course necessary for a nifty if far-fetched plot contrivance, and it reminded me of "Double Indemnity" -- "He'll have to go by train." Submitted by (lowercase, with a comma and period) masonite, 07/07/13.
+ Early on in the episode the Coach Banks mentions to Mrs. Payne that Burt Payne had made the decision to take the train instead of a plane. This would have been in his purview as team manager and makes sense when we find out what really happened. Submitted by Neil Van Zile, 07/03/14
++ Trying to think like a writer, I'm guessing that if they had taken a plane rather than a train, they would all have been belted in, or at least seated, and the trip would have been shorter, without all that time for mischief, hopping on and off, etc. Also the viewer would have been denied the classic train montage. JohnK, 21 March 2018
+++ Looks like the Wildcats attracted a sellout crowd for their game! And, that crowd really knew how to clear out of the area so quickly after the game's conclusion. Paul Drake's chase scene showed so few people around that end of the LA Memorial Coliseum grounds. Bob61571, 21 March 2018
++++ Ha! Good point, Bob61571
+++++ For comments on plane vs train, see below Spoiler banner OLEF641 9/10/21
'It's for you, Perry:''' Della reaches Perry in Hamilton's office saying, "We have our man." who is, of course, Barbara Hale's husband, Bill Williams. jfh 02Apr2019
This episode, as in #241 Mischievous Doll, depends on how the Los Angeles police identify a burned body. However, unlike #241, this episode's body is not the remains of a comparative nobody but of a co-owner of a major professional football team. Given the notoriety, why aren't the police more careful and thorough in their identification? Submitted by (lowercase, with a comma and period) masonite, 07/07/13.
+ The identification, you might recall, was based on a number of factors - the presence of personal effects, the statements of witnesses, and (presumably) a physical resemblance of the remains to Burt - which in real life would be accurate 999,999 times out of a million; so whether/not they would - or more importantly whether/not they should go further, is debatable. Of course in this perryllel world, the absurd, one-in-a-million can be counted on to happen. Defended by Notcom, 060916.
++ Also, on the moving train, there were a limited number of people, of whom only two were unaccounted for, the remains were pretty badly destroyed, and it was the supposed victim's room. Had this happened somewhere like a hotel, where the "victim pool" was unbounded, they might have felt it was important to be more thorough. olef641 - June 27, 2017
Perry's theory for how the fire started could easily have been checked by examining the train compartment.
"The Birlstone Gambit." The solution to the crime is a variation on what has come to be known as "The Birlstone Gambit," for its original use in one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's more famous Holmes stories. Ellery Queen employed it in several EQ and Drury Lane novels in the 1930s, as did ESG in "The Case of the One-Eyed Witness." Unfortunately, the gambit has become such a staple of whodunit fiction that it no longer manages to surprise mystery buffs. Submitted by BobH, 20 February 2017
Plane vs Train - Burt needed the trip to be by train for his scheme for disappearing to work: long journey with several stops and private compartments. It was obviously an intricate plan: train instead of plane, ordering the chemical in his wife's name, having Judson Warner join the train at a later stop (Salinas) with a large amount of cash, making arrangements to have a rental car waiting in Glendale, tickets on the ship. All these details would normally have been put together for us in the epilogue, so it wasn't as clear as usual. Even Burt's "patsy" was a good choice; Warner was also a gambler heavily in debt with a good reason for disappearing with a large amount of cash. Just in case it wasn't clear: Judson was the body in the compartment. BTW, I object to someone so malign (Burt) being named after my father ;-) OLEF641 9/10/21
"Where Did You Get That Hat? Where Did You Get That Plot?" After Jud Warner's body was identified and his estate was settled, his goofy looking Alpine-type hat was passed on to Reed Kavanaugh who wore it in another case (TCOT Vanishing Victim, #258) in which a corpse was misidentified. Submitted by BobH, 9 October2022.
Close to the end when Paul Drake watches two men in the distance where a package is exchanged the recipient is difficult to make out. But he sure looks like Don Anderson instead of the actor whose character would be caught for the big twist ending. Submitted by Kenmore 08/17/2023
A solid bit of casting that helps sell the big twist ending is John Conte as Jud Warner. He's no star, but he was certainly a recognizable actor who had been in a few Perry Mason episodes before. Yet here he does not speak for some time and only has one scene where he engages with Ellen. Leading to the assumption that he would appear later in the episode with something more substantial to say and do. But as we know, he does not. Submitted by Kenmore 08/17/2023.