This is without a doubt the most convoluted episode of all the Perry Mason shows. To think a wealthy man would try to come up with a cadaver, then burn down his own mansion with all of his relatives' possessions contained within only to test his heirs' fidelity defies belief. How about trusting your own judgment? Submitted by PaulDrake 33, 7/24/2008.
The interior sets have a richness and level of taste unusual for the series. I wonder if they, as well as the clip of the burning mansion were borrowed from a film. Do they look familiar to anyone? DOD 09/06/22
+ Perry does say: "It's incredible that anyone could conceive a plan so incredible." Mike Bedard 6.21.16 MeTV viewing.
++ minor correction: "It's incredible that anyone could conceive a plot so fantastic." jfh 21Nov2023.
++I have to agree that the 'test' seems strange. Especially when the heirs are only getting $1, they really have nothing to lose by contesting the will, especially the favored niece, who was probably hurt that her uncle didn't leave her anything. Also, wouldn't the doctor be risking his medical license and/or reputation by providing a cadaver to be burnt? Isn't that some sort of crime? Wouldn't the doctor have shown up, even without a call, since he had to have the cadaver ready on that particular night? —yelocab 30DEC19
Perry asks Paul to find out how much insurance was paid after the fire. In a case of arson, no insurance would be paid. DOD 07/22/19
Both “Caretaker’s Cat” and the previous episode “Jaded Joker” open with a piano tune. In “Jaded Joker,” Bobby Troup seems to be improvising a tune. In “Caretaker’s Cat,” Judy Lewis is playing a finished composition. I may have a tin ear, but it seems to me both these tunes hare very similar. Perhaps, they are different parts of the same tune? Submitted by billp, 2/22/2009.
+ At the end of episode #57, Bobby Troup is credited with composing and performing the “Jaded Joker Theme.” It could well be the same tune played in the next episode, but there is no mention of it in the credits for episode #58. Submitted by gracep, 8/22/2010.
++ The two songs do have a similar tempo, but they sound completely different from one another. The Jaded Joker Theme, written and performed by Bobby Troup, is a 'darker' piece while the one played by Judy Lewis is a more cheerful tune, and reminds me of an 'old standard' type of tune. If the two pieces ARE related, they would have to be separate movements of a large concerto. Submitted by Arisia, 2/16/2018
+++ My 2 cents worth: they are indeed the same piece of music, as far as I can tell from the snippet heard in the background of the opening scene of this episode as broadcast tonight, December 16, 2020, on MeTV. Most of the music is obscured by the conversation, but there is one short unobstructed passage. I immediately stopped the recording and started up the Jaded Joker. Troup plays the same pattern of notes on slightly different pitches, then plays the snippet heard in Caretaker’s Cat. OLEF641 12/16/2020
At two points during his examination of Nurse Devoe, Perry refers to an earlier conversation he had with her. This seems to have been edited out of the TV print I saw, though. I often wonder whether key clues have been edited out! Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 2/26/2011.
+ Indeed! I compared the DVD version of this show with one taped off the Hallmark Channel and found that the entire 1 minute 55 second scene where Perry talks with Ms. Devoe in her room is missing! I didn’t watch enough of the episode to know if there were any key clues, but there was a lot of talking. Submitted by daveb, 2/27/2011.
The burning of the house interposed with a cut of the burning of the newspaper announcing the millionaire’s is very dramatic and effective and well done. Submitted by gracenote, 4/18/2011.
+From the way he jumps back in panic, it also looks as though Benson Fong is more than a little surprised at the violence of the explosion. If it's a special effect, it's a very good one for the time. Submitted by Vladimir Estragon 10/31/2020.
During his cross-examination of Dr. Keene, one of Mason's lines, regarding the findings of the autopsy surgeon, is dubbed in. Besides acoustical difference, one can tell, even when Mason's head is mostly turned away, that he's saying something other than what we're hearing. Submitted by francis, 2/11/12.
+ And when Perry asks the autopsy surgeon whether sedatives alone might have caused death, the off-camera response of "yes" sure doesn't sound like the voice of Michael Fox. Ed Zoerner, 11/30/23. + In fact, every time Burger or Mason mention "volatile spirits," the lines are clearly dubbed over. I found the explanation on the IMDb Website: "...whenever the name of the accelerant ... is mentioned, the phrase "volatile spirits" is repeatedly - and obviously - dubbed in by the original actors. A check of the script ... shows the accelerant was originally "mineral spirits", a paint thinner. Apparently, CBS censors objected to on-air mention of an actual substance that could be used to start fires, hence the dubbing-in of the more generic-sounding "volatile spirits". Submitted by scarter, 7-21-14
++ In the scene where the bottle of volatile spirits was first pulled out of the closet the bottle was labeled "Mineral Spirits". Later a close up of the bottle shows the label now says "Volatile Spirits". Submitted by Kilo 4/17/2018.
When Burger questions Keene it is possible to see jug is labeled ‘mineral spirits’. So was there a second will that would allow Winifred to inherit? DOD 07/22/19
CBS is known for alternating opening credits on its programs. In addition to the change of opening in this episode, during the 195-episode syndication run of Perry Mason in the 1970's, more than half of the first season had the second season theme dubbed over the opening and closing credits although in many episodes the opening and closing themes didn't match. The themes have since been restored. For The Twilight Zone, again about half of the first season episodes had the opening replaced by the second season version. These continue to be seen in syndication, cable and VHS. I don't know if the original openings have been restored for the DVDs and Blu-Rays. The only reason for this would seem to be to fool the viewer into thinking the episode is not as old as it is. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 6/15/12.