#13: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 12/14/57
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Morey Allen's restaurant is a regular eating spot for Perry and Della. But on this night, Morey has a problem: One of his waitresses has been struck by a car while fleeing the steak house after spotting a man stalking her. She's left behind a moth-eaten mink, which hints that she might be one of those enterprising waitresses who "mingle with the guests" after hours. If word of this gets to the press, Morey will be ruined. When the man who frightened the waitress in the first place is found murdered, Morey and the waitress are strong suspects.
Perry and Paul take up Morey's defense--there's a very funny scene when the pair "interrogate" a dumb blond bombshell witness--and the episode climaxes with Tragg and the real murderer shooting it out in Perry's office.
+The shootout was Rare: Raymond Burr stated in a Charlie Rose interview that the series showed "the results of violence" rather than actual incidents of it [50th Anniversary DVD]. Mike Bedard 4.7.15
++ The only other episode I can think of where we see someone being shot is the season nine remake of this one. Are there any others? Duffy, 4-7-2015.
+++ Besides TCOT Moth-Eaten Mink and TCOT Sausalito Sunrise, the following episodes show people getting shot: TCOT Nervous Accomplice (#3), TCOT Lost Last Act (#60), TCOT Clumsy Clown (#102), TCOT Capering Camera (#196), TCOT Silent Six (#252), TCOT Scarlet Scandal (#261), TCOT Fanciful Frail (#265), and TCOT Final Fadeout (#271). Submitted by D. Tlougan, 4/29/15.
Douglas Kennedy as Sgt. Jaffrey
Robert Osterloh as Morey Allen
Kay Faylen as Dixie Dayton
Than Wyenn as Frank Hoxie
Roxanne Arlen as Mae Nolan
Grandon Rhodes as Judge Lennox
Marc Krah as George Fayette
Connie Cezon as Gertie
Brian Hutton as Parking Attendant
Jack Gargan as Bailiff
Lyn Guild as Drake's Operator
Don Anderson as Policeman (sighted by Ram Anand, 5/5/10)
Lee Miller as courtroom spectator
CARS: Early 50s Cadillac series 75 limo, black, Early 50s Chrysler product Taxi. From The Cars by Greg Cockerill.
+ The Cadillac that chases Dixie in the alley early in the episode is a 1951 model (California Lic HGA 058), year-ID by the front bumper and grill details. After driving it through a trash shed, the driver stops the Caddy at DVD 2:13 to shoot two bullets at Dixie. But it is a different early 50s Caddy in this gun shot! The driver's side-view mirror and exterior door handle are missing and the radio antenna is bent. Everything on the car was ship-shape just a second previously! The car that strikes Dixie in the street a few seconds after the shots are fired is a 1955 Chevrolet, California Lic No GJH 720. Gary Woloski, 17 Apr 2012.
Pilot or not? This show was the pilot episode of the series. It was filmed in October 1956. Source: Perry Mason: The Authorship and Reproduction of a Popular Hero by J. Dennis Bounds who cites Jim Davidson, “Writing the Perry Mason Pilot: Interviews with TV Writers Ben Starr and Lawrence Marks,” National Association for the Advancement of Perry Mason Newsletter, no. 46, Winter 1990–91, 3, as his source. Submitted by daveb, date unknown.
+ There are several tip-offs that this episode was filmed far in advance of the other episodes. First, Perry’s hair is much thinner than in the other episodes. It is very short. Second, Perry has not yet acquired a vehicle, he uses a taxi for transportation. Submitted by PaulDrake 33.
++ Unfortunately, the script for this episode is undated. But, this is undoubtedly consistent with the view that this was the first episode (pilot). The call sheets for this episode would be particularly interesting. Submitted by billp. 4 November 2009.
+++ In an interview on the 50th Anniversary Edition DVD, series producer Arthur Marks identified episode #15, “TCOT Fan Dancer's Horse,” as the pilot episode. Submitted by alan_sings 9 Oct 2010.
++++ I think Mr. Marks’ memory my be faulty. In the same interview, he says the “pilot” was directed by Ted Post. Mr. Post is credited as Director for #13, “TCOT Moth-Eaten Mink,” with Maxwell Henry as assistant director. Marks also said he was the 2nd Assistant Director but none is credited. For #15, TCOT Fan Dancer’s Horse, William D. Russell is credited as Director with Art Marks, perhaps now hired on the series, as Assistant Director. Art Seid is credited as Editorial Supervisor in both episodes. Submitted by daveb, 11/1/10.
+++++ Lending more credence to the notion that this was the pilot: the introductory quality of the episode, including a walk through Perry's office suite, staffed by a small army, and one tell-tale sign -- the prop guys had yet to take the shine off the Rauland Amplicall Intercom on Perry's desk. Submitted by francis, 5/28/14.
++++++ It also seems that Paul's hair is the darkest it ever is in the entire series. Submitted by ProMason, July 1, 2014
Also, Paul is not quite as beefy as in later shows.
+++++++ Here's MeTV's take on the subject: 6 little differences you never noticed in the Perry Mason pilot episode. OLEF641 2/2/21
+ That the spherical spice jar, usually at the right side of Perry's credenza, has not yet arrived. JohnK, 27 November 2015.
+ Other clues - there is a different, smaller lamp at the end of the sofa, there is a massive planter in Della’s office that, by episode 16, will move to Perry’s office, and the courtroom set is different. The judges bench and witness stand look brand new: in later episodes, they look pretty beat up. DOD 05/08/18
* Perry wears a hat for an entire scene while other episodes in season 1 show Perry carrying a hat or wearing one only very briefly;
* and, the episode has a grittier storyline and a definite film noir feel;
* and the gathering place is Morey's, not Clay's Grille. jfh 08May2018.
This episode of Perry Mason (TCOT Moth-Eaten Mink) is based on an Erle Stanley Gardner novel of the same name. The season nine episode titled TCOT Sausalito Sunrise (#260, 9.19) is also based on this same ESG novel. So this ninth season episode is often considered to be a "re-make" of TCOT Moth-Eaten Mink. See here. Submitted by Charles Richmond, 26 April 2013.
Location: This episode features a glimpse of the Los Angeles City Jail before the jail scene rather than the usual Hall of Justice shot. The HOJ is seen later before the courtroom scene. Submitted by daveb, 9/13/10.
Sightings: Blue Collar Guy appears as the cab driver outside of Morey's Restaurant. More about him and other frequently-seen people here. Submitted by alan_sings, 9/26/10.
+ The Pencil Mustache Man plays a waiter at Morey's and later shows up in court on Perry's side. Distinguished Lady #4 is a witness to the car accident at the beginning of the show. Later we find Distinguished Gentleman #1 reading a newspaper in Perry's office before he returns to his job as an orderly at the hospital wearing a white coat. In court, the Distinguished Lady #2 is the matron. Submitted by BigBill767, Nov 11,2016.
Uncredited Actors: Don Anderson appears at least twice in this episode. He’s one of the uniformed policemen who answer the call to Morey’s restaurant. Later, he is a courtroom spectator wearing the same distinctive light sport jacket he wore in episode 2. He may also be a diner at Morey’s who’s leaving just as Mason and Della arrive, but it’s difficult to see clearly. Submitted by FredK, 30 September 2010.
+ I, too, believe that Don Anderson is the Man Leaving Restaurant (MLR). As Perry and Della enter, he's at the cash register and then, as they pause, he walks behind them and exits the front door. But notice who's at the cash register again a couple of seconds later as Morey greets Perry & Della: it's MLR, who walks behind Perry & Della and exits all-over-again!
I also believe that it might be Don Anderson playing the driver of the Cadillac that chases Dixie in the alley after she runs out the back door of Morey's place. The driver's face isn't clear during the pursuit but at DVD 2:13 the driver stops and fires two rounds from a (.38cal?) revolver at Dixie from the driver's window (shooter's face is seen from the upper lip to the open left eye, he fires left-handed). Thus, in the first few minutes of the episode, it's possible that Don Anderson makes four appearances as:
*Man Leaving Restaurant (twice!),
*a left-handed, left-eyed, gun-toting, Caddy-driving Gangster and
*Policeman Number 2.
If the driver wasn't Anderson, I do notice a resemblance between the Caddy driver and the driver of the '55 Chev that hits Dixie a few seconds later (perhaps a single stunt-driver employed). Submitted by Gary Woloski, 16 Apr 2012.
Lee Miller appears in court at the back of the room. Submitted by BigBill767, Nov 11,2016.
Location: About 17 minutes in there is a quick exterior shot of Los Angeles County USC Medical Center. Submitted by Eric Cooper 5 November 10
Interior Decoration: Perry’s office painting has moved back to its position in the waiting room. (See Submitted by evelyne, 12 February 2011.
The Other Curious Coffee Cups: This episode may mark the last appearance of the OTHER curious coffee cups -- the triangular art deco ones with horizontal striping and angled "7" handles. They look a bit like Salem Tricorne or Homer Laughlin Harlequin -- but striped sets of either of those patterns would be unusual. Next episode we move on to plain white restaurant ware. Submitted by catyron, November 15, 2020.
Recycled Newsprint. At 18:49 (CBS/Paramount DVD) we see a folded newspaper with the heading "Policeman Murdered" and a photo of the victim, Robert Clairmont. This item appears to be pasted onto a mock newspaper page mostly describing business development. However, towards the top of the column immediately to the right of Clairmont's photo can be read: "The Wildenfels picked up a life boat containing one member of the Charles Jose's crew but . . . (continues)". This actually describes a real maritime disaster which occurred on 4/5 Oct, 1934.
This news was covered by the real Iowa newspaper Mason City Globe Gazette, October 5, 1934, page 6, "Sinking of Belgian Steamer Reported - One of Crew Saved - AMSTERDAM Oct 5":
- "German steamer Wildenfels reported by wireless today that the Belgian steamer Charles Jose sank four miles west of Haaks Lightship at 11pm last night during a severe storm. Distress signals were received at the Lightship but did not identify the sender. Several rescue ships searched the area in vain. The Wildenfels picked up a lifeboat containing one member of the Charles Joses crew but the other nine who launched another lifeboat were believed to be lost. Considerable wreckage was located by the tugboat Rhein but it found no survivors."
The text in the PM prop is identical to the corresponding portion of the Mason City GG article. See extracts of Dutch reports on the incident here. Submitted by Gary Woloski, 18 Apr 2012.
Syndicated cuts: Mason greets Jerry and Gertie [+ and Terri, with a client in Gertie's outer office jfh 14Mar2023]; entire scene of Mae, Paul and Perry; Paul leaves to dig up info on Fayette; Mason tells Della to tell Jackson to put a hold on a memo; Della calls Perry to tell him Morey has disappeared; Mason arrives at Keymont Hotel by taxi, talks to night clerk who sees the floor where Mason goes; scene in Mason's office with Mason, Della and Paul saying that Morey or Dixie can't be put on the stand and how Hoxie knew they went to room 721.
Additional Hallmark cuts: In the restaurant, Della asking why would anyone hide a pawn ticket in a mink coat, Mason asking why would Morey be concerned about a waitress he knew for only 10 days and the discussion over whether it's a romance; part of Mason walking down the corridor of Keymont Hotel looking for room 721 before he pauses and continues; interrogation of Drake and Mason in room 815 from when Tragg tells Mason to cut stalling to Jaffrey asking why are they in a room with a man who's been shot; interrogation of Drake and Mason in room 721 when Jaffrey relates the history of the cop killing and telling Drake he'll find out who did it and if Drake gets in his way he'll lean on him; Tragg telling Mason he has responsibilities as officer of the court and if he ducks it or obstructs the police he'll face consequences; part of Mason and Morey's jail conversation where Mason tells him Dixie and Tom took Claremont's murder weapon to Portland, telling Morey to sit down and take it easy and Morey saying Tom really did kill Claremont; part of Hoxie's testimony where Mason asks him if he tried to get a job at another hotel, Burger objecting, the judge overruling and Mason withdrawing the question. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 7/16/12.
This episode must have been scheduled earlier than expected. Although it was broadcast in December 1957 the copyright date indicates 1958. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 6/09/13.
It's for you, Mr. Mason Paul's service calls Perry at home when Morey Allen calls in the middle of the night. jfh 16May2017.
Cold case / old case: Perry also solved the murder of police officer Robert Clairmont killed a year earlier. Submitted by H. Mason 9/27/14
Hushed Hoodlum: Even though George Fayette speaks no lines and is on screen for just a few seconds, actor Mark Krah gets a credit at the end. JohnK, 27 February 2016
This is the first of four PM appearances for Douglas Kennedy, who was an army officer working for the OSS during World War II...MikeM. 7/26/2016
Kay Faylen was the first wife of Regis Philbin of the Regis and Kathy Lee show. Submitted by BigBill767, Nov 11,2016.
+ This is the only PM appearance for Kay Faylen, and IMDb shows it as her final Filmography role. Kay Faylen is the daughter of prolific character actor Frank Faylen, who played cab driver Ernie in "It's a Wonderful Life", and who was the television father of Dobie Gillis...MikeM. 5/8/2018
This is the first of two PM appearances for Than (Nathaniel) Wyenn who, according to Wikipedia, died in Woodland Hills, California, on January 30, 2015, at the age of 95. He was survived by his wife of 71 years, Guy Wyenn, their two sons, and five grandchildren. jfh 01Oct2019
Gavel Talley - The judge uses his gavel when he adjourns court at Perry's request. OLEF641 11/27/21
The episode opens with an establishing shot of a long, busy boulevard at night. We see a sign at the right that says Mayflower. That's the old Mayflower Hotel at 535 S. Grand Avenue in Los Angeles. For a modern view, see here. In the episode, we're looking roughly south on the street in the direction of W. 6th Street. Today the hotel is called "Checkers," and it's in a canyon of large, ugly buildings. LA was a lot nicer in Perry's day. billp 1/12/09.
In the final scene, why didn't Perry and company ask for Mae to be their waitress? Submitted by H. Mason 9/30/14.
A rare and refreshingly cigarette free episode. DOD 07/18/23
Why do Perry and Paul have the same odd-looking headboard on their beds? Submitted by scarter, 1/20/15
+ While both headboards are tufted fabric, Perry's appears to be velvet and more fully stuffed, and Paul's headboard is more of a polished cotton fabric with more tufts and less stuffing. jfh 010ct2019
There were some interesting Money amounts for 1957: a $1,000 Retainer & a $100 Bail Bond. Amendment 8: "Excessive BAIL shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted [taken word for word from the 1689 English Bill of Rights]." Mike Bedard 4.7.15
Seems whenever we have a "guest" police officer, he turns out to be a bad guy. Making those phone calls from the restaurant, Perry dials six numbers to reach Tragg but seven to reach Paul. I’m not certain, but I think that establishing shot of the hospital was used in “Citizen Kane”. DOD 06/02/20
"The Case of the (Almost) Wordless Waitress." Co-defendant Dixie Dayton speaks only two lines of dialogue--a grand total of five words--in the entire episode, all in the very first scene: "Excuse me" and "Oh thanks, Morey." Submitted by BobH, 11 December 2019.
When Paul is in Perry’s office telling him a waitress, Mae Nolan, let it slip to Tragg that Della left the restaurant wearing the mink, Perry gets on the intercom to tell Della to send Mae in. As Perry’s talking, Paul seems to say something as an aside. I cannot make out what he says. Any idea? Lili-beth 03.01.2020
> Based on a transcript it looks like "Girl"...he says. Notcom, 030220.