#149: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 04/14/62
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Perry and Della return to the office after dinner to finish up some work and are startled to find a four-week-old baby boy in a basket on Perry's desk. Perry perceives someone to be in trouble, since he doesn't believe in storks.
Before long, the alleged mother shows up, with a trail of trouble behind her. She is arrested for murder, but not before Perry finds out that this little baby that he and Della have been caring for may be the heir to the vast Kerrick fortune.
Starring Raymond Burr
in The Case of The Borrowed Baby
Based upon Characters Created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins
Directed by Arthur Marks
Written by Jonathan Latimer
Art Seid | Producer
Gail Patrick Jackson | Executive Producer
Jackson Gillis | Associate Producer
Produced by The CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions
Samuel Newman | Story Consultant
Raymond Burr as Perry Mason
Barbara Hale as Della Street
William Hopper as Paul Drake
Wiliam Talman as Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg
Hugh Marlowe as Jarvis Baker
Maria Palmer as Florence Wood
Corey Allen as Lester Menke
Nellie Burt as Mrs. Holly Cosgrove
Kaye Elhardt as Ginny Talbot
Gregory Morton as Dr. Paul Hogathy
Sara Taft as Mrs. Leander Kerrick
Joan Petrone as Lenora Graves
El Brendel as Court Manager
Charles Thompson as Antique Car Man
Kenneth MacDonald as Judge
Ed Stoddard as Gun Clerk
Lee Miller as Sgt. Brice
Charles Stroud as Court Clerk
Director of Photography … Robert G. Hager
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Gordon Webb
Film Editor … Richard H. Cahoon, A.C.E.
Casting … Harvey Clermont
Makeup … Irving Pringle
Hair Stylist … Annabell
Wardrobe Supervision … Ed McDermott, Evelyn Carruth
Set Decoration … Charles Q. Vassar
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … M.E.M. Gibsone
Sound … Glen Glenn Sound Co.
Automobiles Supplied by … Ford Motor Company
Titles and Opticals by … Pacific Title
Perry Mason \ A Film Presentation
A CBS Television Network Production
Charles Thompson makes his only Perry appearance here playing the car man. Mr. Thompson was unique in that he was almost 60 years old before he ever began acting. Most people best remember Mr. Thompson as Asa Breeney, the inept security guard on The Andy Griffith Show. Submitted by PaulDrake 33, 2 September 2009.
Yet another triumphant appearance by Della’s monogrammed dress! It does seem to fit a bit more snugly each time, though. Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 7/9/2010.
Location: The brick stairs seen when Perry has a chat with Lester Menke are also seen in the Magic Donut scene in #101, “TCOT Wandering Widow.” Submitted by daveb, 12/29/2010.
Della serves coffee to Perry and Paul at her temporary quarters using the Curious Coffee Set. Submitted by daveb, 12/30/2010.
Character Names: The first name of Mrs. Leander Kerrick is Dolly. The Antique Car Man is Mr. Barry.
Submitted by gracep, 1/3/2011.
+ Paul said Antique Car Man’s (ACM) first name “Amos” when Perry asked him if he knew any antique car people. I did hear Perry address ACM by name but I heard it as “Mr. Berry” which, in hindsight, I prefer because Perry’s & Paul’s consultation with the hard-of-hearing old Crank was NUTS! Perry really asked for confusion, verbal chaos and a razz-berry when he started by asking ACM "Can you tell us the name of the electric broom on this Saint Christopher Medal?" (The “broom” being a "brougham"). The conversation went straight downhill from there. I wonder what 1962 TV audiences without home recording/playback made of this comedy scene. Added by Gary Woloski, 10/13/11.
+ Interesting point re Barry vs. Berry; I was simply using the spelling provided by the closed captions. Submitted by gracenote, 26 November 2011.
+ Minutiae: I assume that gracenote is referring to the "closed captions" on the cable-TV reruns. The Sub-titles on the DVD consistently spell ACM's name "Brry". GW
+ Broom/Brougham? Coincidentally, for Perry's line "Can you tell us the name of the electric broom on this Saint Christopher Medal" (clearly enunciated by a straight-faced Burr), the DVD sub-title does read "brougham". Whether "brougham" or "broom" was typed on the script, this is the only use of the "b"-word in the whole episode and I'm led to wonder if the sub-title writers, J.R. Media Services (closing credits w/ subtitles on), were working from a shooting script or just took great care in their work (or both!). Either way, I'm sure that Raymond Burr intentionally pronounced it "BROOM" in order to make this the in the entire series! Added by Gary Woloski, 4/22/13.
+ I don't think Burr was making a joke; brougham is pronounced in various ways (more than demo'd in the link above), including "broom." Lord Brougham of England pronounced his name Broom. Perhaps Burr was an Anglophile! Submitted by JazzBaby, 3/12/2019.
++ Well technically he was an Anglophile since Raymond Burr was born in "British" Columbia, Canada. ;-) Submitted by HamBurger, 6/1/2019
Although credited, Ray Collins does not appear as Arthur Tragg. Submitted by gracep, 1/3/2011.
Sightings: Distinguished Gentleman #1, sporting glasses, sits in the back row of the courtroom gallery, while “Miss Carmody” sits on the front. Read more about these two and the other recurring spectators. Submitted by gracep, 1/3/2011.
+“Miss Carmody” is also enjoying dinner at the same restaurant where Perry and Della are dining in the opening scene. Her companion has his back to the camera, but he might also be one of our regulars. Submitted by JazzBaby, 3/12/2019.
Goof: When Perry leaves upon the conclusion of his discussion with Mrs. Kerrick, he asks for the medallion back and clearly takes it with him. Yet shortly after, Mrs. Kerrick has the medallion when she visits Della! Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 7/16/2011.
+ Correction: When the scene concludes outside the house, and Perry has had Paul follow Menke, Mr. Baker and the secretary exit the house and get into a car and leave—watched by Perry. He then gets another idea an climbs the stairs to re-enter the house, presumably to talk again with Mrs. Kerrick. It is then that he would have ostensibly given her back the medal. Posted by dwhite, 12/3/2011.
The ultraviolet lamp used by Perry looks very much like the “Black-Ray” from a previous episode, namely #114, TCOT Blind-Man’s Bluff. Submitted by gracenote, 7/20/2011.
Someone please correct me if I am wrong. This episode has the only final wrap where Della cries at the end.
Submitted by Mason Jar, 7/28/2011.
+ And I don’t remember any other episode in which Della dropped so many strong hints that she’s ready to settle down and raise a family. That makes almost five years that she’s been “hinting” but the guy still hasn’t got it. Della’s “Baby Formula” (see below) isn’t working! Added by Gary Woloski 10/16/11.
++ The version just shown on MeTV has cut the final wrap to remove Della's tears! Given that this is one of Barbara Hale's finest moments on the series, this is one of the most egregious cuts they've forced on the show. Do we really need to see another Flintstones promo? Added by OldDave 4/13/20
Mrs. Cosgrove, the cleaner for the Mason law office, praises Perry while being questioned by Burger on the witness stand. In response, Burger hops up onto his soapbox and grandly proclaims: “This seems to disprove the old theory about no man being a hero to his cleaning woman!” Don’t miss the following quick shot of Burr’s facial expression portraying (perhaps) simultaneous amusement and humility! Added by Gary Woloski 10/13/11.
Sgt. Brice (Lee Miller) is Burger’s first witness, just past half-way through the show. The scene is more than 30 seconds long and he answers three questions from Burger in about 50 words. There is also a very fine facial close-up of him. This is the longest speaking part for Lee Miller that I can recall and the only one with an extreme facial close-up (much better than Episode #59 and without his hat!). Added by Gary Woloski 10/14/11.
Della’s Baby Formula: Della hands the notes she found pinned to the baby's blanket to Paul, which he reads as “My name is Leander. Please, Please, don’t let anybody, not even the Police, take me away. E-V-M 13-W 19-C-O-R-N S2T.” In response to Paul asking what the code is, Della replies, “That’s his formula, Paul.” Added by Gary Woloski, 10/16/11.
+ I have made baby formula with Carnation evaporated milk and corn syrup thinned with water. This formula could be 13oz. evaporated milk, 19 oz. water and 2 T. corn syrup. Anything for Baby is sterilized, especially the water. The water is boiled then cooled to eliminate bacteria, then added to the milk. That explains the excessive proportion of water to milk, to allow for the several ounces of evaporation. Submitted by DesignDeb via the Perry Mason Yahoo Group, 6/25/13.
Location: Opening street scene you can see Beefeaters Inn which is long gone. It was at 170 North La Cienega in Beverly Hills. Submitted by Eric Cooper, 19 December 2011.
At 3:49 on the DVD you can see in the far upper left corner the shadow from a studio light quickly appear and then be pulled away. Submitted by Exquisite Decay, 11 January 2013
Set Design Error: starting at 22:28 on the DVD to the left of the front door there is a mail slot in the outside wall. After Della opens the front door and the camera cuts to the interior shot, there is no corresponding mail slot next to the door on the interior of the wall. Submitted by Exquisite Decay, 11 January 2013
This episode's writer Jonathan Latimer throws a screwball with Antique Car Man's (ACM) "information" regarding the car engraving on the medallion. ACM says:
- "Real old timer. Detroit Electric? Land's sake, I believe it is. A genuine rarity, Mr. Jason. A Kerrick Electrocar." . . . "Only six of 'em ever made. Traction millionaire in Chicago. Used to build 'em for a hobby . . . back in '15, '16 . . . You must have heard of him-- Leander Kerrick." (Capitalization & punctuation as in the DVD Subtitles.)
The scene goes on to provide the pointer toward Dolly Kerrick. Within this story's fictional world, please take ACM's info as genuine and enjoy the episode. In the real world, however, only ACM's dating of the car is accurate; the rest of his story is bunk:
- The car is not a Detroit Electric [see Car(3) below].
- Detroit Electric was a real-world company and the highest-selling electric car brand of the 20th Century, with sales of almost 13,000 electric cars and trucks from 1907 to 1939. NOT "Only six of 'em ever made". See earlyelectric.com, scroll↓ to Detroit Electric.
- There never was a "Kerrick Electrocar" in the real world.
Detroit Electric went out-of-buisiness in 1939. I suppose that Jonathan Latimer and Paisano Productions felt that they could get away with attaching fiction to a real company's name because, by 1962, Detroit Electric had been inactive for over 20 years. It's perhaps ironic that, now after 70+ years, the Detroit Electric brand has recently been resurrected! Added by Gary Woloski, 5/16/13.
CARS. (1) Perry's 1962 Ford Galaxie 500 Sunliner, black w/black top up, Lic No XCF 015.
- (2) 1962 Buick Electra 225 4-Door HardTop, medium color w/ light roof, Licence Number WHN 406, Jarvis Baker.
- (3) Dolly Kerrick's 1915 or 1916 Baker Electric Coupe, dark color, Lic No WST 215. Dolly's car is identical in all visible details to the linked image: windows, front side-lamps, the rear-hinged ("suicide") doors and all coachwork seams & mouldings, etc. I believe that Dolly's car is the Baker Coupe which had a 90" wheelbase. Baker's Brougham model had a 100" wheelbase and a similar appearance. Dolly's car sold for $2475 (1915 Ford Model T Sedan was $740. When Paul displays the medallion in his hand at 4:22, note that the engraving precisely portrays the rear-hinged doors with handles forward (Detroit Electrics had front-hinged doors). Oddly, the initial "W" of Dolly's Licence Plate indicates issuance within months of the filming of this episode [alpha-numerically, WST 215 falls between the plate no's of cars (2) & (1), above].
- (4) a 1962 Ford Galaxie Mainliner 4-Door Sedan TAXI takes Ginny to the Sanitarium.
Apparently, the same Baker Electric as in this episode appeared in Bewitched, Season 3 Ep3 "Witches and Warlocks Are My Favorite Things", aired 29 Sep 66. See the episode on youtube, car at 21:04-21:33. Other TV/movie appearances are at this imcdb page. See histories at coachbuilt.com and earlyelectric.com under "Baker" and "Rauch & Lang".
Background Cars. Antique Car Man (ACM) has four old cars in his shop:
- (a) 1906-08 Ford Model N or 1907 Ford Model R, top up, medium color, in very nice condition. This is the first car, right by the door through which Paul & Perry enter ACM's shop.
- (b) possible 1924 Cadillac Touring Car, medium color, no top, to Left & behind Car (a). The radiator shell on the car in ACM's shop is typical of the Cadillac radiator from about 1914, being replaced by a fancier style starting 1925. Bumpers were a dealer-installed optional extra on General Motors cars then, even on Cadillacs up to at least 1925. The same style bumper seen in this episode (like partly-open lips) was also fitted to other makes, as on this '23 Buick.
- (c) ACM is working underneath a probable 1918 Oldsmobile Model 37, medium color, no top. Model 37 was Oldsmobile's 6-cylinder car from 1917 to 1921. This car could be an Model 37 Pick-Up (there seems to be no body structure behind the seats when ACM rolls out from under it). There were only a few Model 37 Pick-Ups produced and these were made only in 1918. Further ref w/photo at Casteele, The Cars of Oldsmobile, page 67. Other 1918 Olds trucks: 1, 2. Another possibility is it's the 1918 Olds Mod 37 Speedster, a very early "hot-rod" (one-of-a-kind customized roadster w/souped-up engine)!
- (d) The 4th car, with top similar to car (a), is in the far Left corner of the shop. Radiator can be seen beyond Perry's Left elbow @ 13:40. It is almost certainly another Ford Model R or N. More on these two Fords in this wiki article.
- (e) A 1957 Ford Fairlane two-tone sedan is in the driveway of the Kerrick Mansion (Menke's car?).
An electric car appeared on a US 17¢ stamp of the 1981-95 Transportation Series). It looks like a Detroit Electric (front-hinged doors). This Day-of-Issue postcard puts a Baker Electric (suicide doors) beside the Detroit Electric on the stamp. Added by Gary Woloski 4/5/13.
Anomaly: Did anyone else notice that the supposed date on which Leander Jr. died, as spoken by Lenora Graves and as written in the sanatorium record book, was February 29, which did not occur in 1962 or even in 1961? It seems there were even more lies in this plot than were revealed during the episode. Submitted by 10yearoldfan, 5 Aug 2013.
It's for you, Mr. Mason: Paul and Perry are consulting Mr. Berry in his antique-car garage when the old gentleman fields a call for "Mr. Raisin" from his secretary. Submitted by francis, 10/31/14.
Brent Building: In this story we learned the name of another tenant. Mrs. Cosgrove said she had been cleaning Crespo and Company. Submitted by H. Mason 12/8/14
This is the first of two PM appearances for Joan Petrone, who went to Europe and Japan with the USO shortly after the end of World War II....MIkeM. 10/26/2016
This is the first of two PM appearances for Maria Palmer, who was born in Vienna and passed in Los Angeles...MikeM. 2/1/2017
This is Sara Taft's only PM appearance. (Why wasn't a member of the mini-union - Sheila Bromley, Josephine Hutchinson, Jeanette Nolan, Catherine Squire - that normally filled this type of role brought in ?? Perhaps because a clearly older person was called for.) Notcom 022218.
It’s curious that Perry recognized an antique electric car when he saw one, especially now that electric cars are making a comeback! There was a recent film about the old electric cars and their demise. Find out Who Killed the Electric Car? here or here.
+ What Perry immediately recognizes (from a distance of 6 feet!) as “an electric automobile” is a line-engraving of a car on the reverse of the 1-inch-diameter St. Christopher medallion that Della found in the baby’s basket. We viewers are given a fine close-up of the engraving, displayed in Paul’s open hand. The engraving is further ID’d by Antique Car Man (ACM), who gives some totally fictional "historical details" of Detroit Electric and a lead to local owner Dolly Kerrick, who still drives her (Baker) electric car. Dolly's car appears in three scenes, the most being Dolly's trip to see Della and the baby at DVD 22:05-22:24. Added by Gary Woloski, 12/13/11.
++ Who Killed the Electric Car (1:32:26) includes shots of both a Baker Electric (0:1:46 to 0:1:52) and a Detroit Electric (0:2:20 to 0:2:33 with voice-over by Phyllis Diller). Note that the linked image of the Detroit Electric shows hinges on the forward edge of the doors, which was standard practice for Detroit Electric. Added by Gary Woloski 5/17/17.
Historical Notes on electric vehicles:
- Whereas the real Detroit Electric tried to compete with the gasoline-powered car but went bust by 1939, Walter C. Baker instead directed his company's production into Materials-Handling-Equipment, in which the limited range of electric vehicles didn't matter and where clean, quiet operation was a big plus. Baker Industrial Trucks later became a division of Otis Elevators and United Technologies Corp, living on until 1989. See this Encyclopedia of Cleveland History article.
- See some early magazine articles (1913 & later) on electric vehicles, courtesy of Lincoln Highway Museum (scroll down 1 page to start).
Added by Gary Woloski, 5/25/13.
+ Another Baker Electric Appearance. It's well worth watching the PETER GUNN episode Love Me to Death (1960) to see and hear more of the 1916 Baker Electric including motor & chain drive sound and the undercarriage & mechanical brake linkage, which hero Gunn inspects after an upsetting and fatal "accident". Auto licence plates are Hollywood props [fake] in this episode. Also notable in the episode are:
- Perry Mason occasional actor (ep#s 15 & 231) Minerva Urecal as Mother,
- a spectacular & daringly-coordinated firebomb attempt on Pete's car (OUTSTANDING even compared to the typically great stunt-work in the PETER GUNN series) and
- a lawyer who introduces himself to Pete as "James Bond" (played by Lucien Littlefield). Pete seemed to have been as surprised to hear the name as I was watching at home.
Della is the star of this show. In many episodes Della is mainly (delightful) window dressing, but this episode shows us just how indispensable she can be. Imagine how foolish Perry and Paul would have felt if they had been unable to decipher the baby formula--something Della knew immediately--only to eventually find out what it really was. Plus she took care of Leander. Submitted by DellaFan, 10/24/2013.
I really feel for Della at the end when she cries. There she is, pushing forty, unmarried, childless, biological clock tick-tick-ticking away, a famous, successful lawyer--her boss!--in her sights, and she can't reel him in! Submitted by DellaFan, 10/24/2013.
+ I would love to be the solution to her problem! Submitted by DellaFan, 10/24/2013.
+Della has no problem. She's intelligent, lovely, and has an exciting career. The choices she makes are her own. jfh 01Feb2017.
Watching the ending of the episode again, I can't believe my eyes: Perry sitting on the sofa doing nothing while the elder Mrs. Kerrick loads up and carries away a large suitcase! Where is the courteous, chivalrous Perry beloved by his cleaning woman? jfh 01Nov2017
That is the BIGGEST four week old baby I've ever seen ... times have changed, it's more likely that a baby closer to that real age could be used in a tv show. MikeReese
+ I agree. That might have been a summary error, though. In one scene the baby's mother refers to "those months" since the birth. Submitted by francis, 10/31/14.
Sign of the times: Perry, Della and baby, and Paul travelling in the front bench seat of Perry's car. Front bench seat? Baby riding in front? in the lap of its caregiver? jfh 26Oct2016
For the first time we got to see the hallway just outside of Perry's office. Unless there was a major remodel job the suite of Ajax Mining & Development Corporation (from episode 68 TCOT Dubious Bridegroom) couldn't have been next to suite 904. Submitted by H. Mason 12/8/14
METV preempted their normal schedule to show an episode "remembering" Barbara Hale, who died last week; ironically, they could have simply waited a day and used this episode, probably the most Della-cetric of the series...the honoring part, of course, would have been showing it unedited, and not deleting her big scene (ARGH!!!). Proffered by Notcom, 020217
Not quite sure of the reason Dr.Hogathy could be blackmailed. Surely anyone could come to the aid of a woman giving birth; police do it every day. And how would Lenora Graves get access to the doctor's record book? DODay 11/01/17
+ Excellent point here. As a Hungarian, Dr. Hogathy may not have been completely cognizant of US law in the matter, and may have been worried more about the cover-up than his role in the birth. On top of that, Menke may well have been telling him exaggerated and untrue stories about what would happen if the truth came out, preying upon Hogathy's presumed fears about being deported behind the Iron Curtain. TriviaSleuth 8/12/19