<< Witless Witness | Episodes | Shifty Shoe-Box >>

#182: The Case of the
Nebulous Nephew
Original Airdate: 09/26/63

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (Revised)
Perry defends a seaman with two names who’s been switching identities with another man.

Credits Edit

Random actor from episode. Click for page of all available.


Starring Raymond Burr
Based upon characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins


On the DVD I have, the credits for this episode have been replaced by the credits from #233: The Case of the Sad Sicilian. That episode is from an entirely different season. Has anyone else ever noticed something like this on a Perry Mason DVD? [Added by BobwloCB.]
+ Correct!!! My version also has the credits from #233 and the date stamp 1965 which is correct for The Case of the Sad Sicilian. HamBurger 7/29/2016
+ Crew credits now have been transcribed from from a showing on MeTV. Thanks to OLEF641 7/27/2021

Directed by Arthur Marks
Written by Jonathan Latimer
Art Seid | Producer
Gail Patrick Jackson | Executive Producer
Jackson Gillis | Associate Producer
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
Wesley Lau as Lt. Anderson

Music composed and conducted by Van Cleave


Beulah Bondi as Sophia Stone
Ron Starr as John Brooks
Kate Manx as Irene Stone
Mark Roberts as Wayne Jameson
Hugh Marlowe as Ernest Stone
Ivan Dixon as Caleb Stone
Meg Wyllie as Nineveh Stone
Arthur Space as Leonard
Irene Tedrow as Sister Theresa
Kenneth MacDonald as Judge
William Woodson as Coroner’s Physician
Linda Marshall as Young Nun
Kathy Willow as Stewardess


“Perry Mason”
Director of Photography … Robert G. Hager
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Robert G. Stone
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 … Sandy Grace
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … Cosmo Genovese
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner
Jet Aircraft Supplied by … American Airlines

©MCMLXIII Paisano Productions
All Rights Reserved

Perry Mason
Produced by the CBS Television Network
in association with Paisano Productions

Trivia Edit

Veteran movie actress Beulah Bondi makes her only Perry appearance here playing Sophia Stone. She made a living playing Jimmy Stewart’s mother. Ms. Bondi played Jimmy Stewart’s mother 5 times—4 times in movies and once in his television show. Submitted by PaulDrake33, 16 September 2009.
John Brooks wore a shirt with "L.A. Co. Jail" stenciled on it three times (twice on front, once on back). Are there any other instances where such a shirt appears? Otto Gervaert, 1/25/21.
Meg Wyllie earned everlasting fame for portraying 'The Keeper' in the Star Trek two part episode The Menagerie, which utilized footage from the first pilot episode The Cage. Submitted by Chief Kurtzz 20 December 2021.
Kate Manx, the episode's “babe,” died the year after this show aired at the young age of only 34. Submitted by cgraul, 9/22/2011.
+ This is the only PM appearance for Kate Manx, whose death was declared to be a suicide...MikeM. 3/20/2017
++ Brief article on her death from the NYT archive. OLEF641 6/9/21

Ivan Dixon made 2 other Perry appearances: TCOT Promoter's Pillbox ('62) & TCOT Shooting Star ('86 as the JUDGE); he was in an Ironside [IMDb]. Mike Bedard 2.23.15.

The new season begins with an appearance by the Curious Coffee Set, from which the mysterious seaman pretends to sip as he waits for Great-Aunt Sophia. Submitted by gracenote, 2/11/2011.

The "pixelated aunts" theme is from the great Gary Cooper/Jean Arthur 1936 movie "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town."

Sightings: Both Quiet Old Man #1 and Distinguished Gentleman #1 appear in the courtroom: the former as a spectator and the latter as court reporter. Submitted by gracenote, 2/12/2011.
+ At this point i think someone needs to make an entry for African American Woman -- she has been an on-and-off spectator, sometimes with her friend, African American Man, (forming an African-American Couple) for a number of episodes, at least during Season Six, and she is here again this week, solo. Submitted by catyron, May 18th, 2018
+ + And, as we all know now, Distinguished Gentleman #1 is the uncredited actor Rudolph Salinger, who played a variety of small roles over many seasons. Submitted by catyron, August 5th, 2021.

Alas, Neither D.A. Burger not Lt. Tragg appears in this episode, notwithstanding the billing. Submitted by gracenote, 2/12/2011.
+ Correction: Actually, yes, Hamilton Burger is the prosecuting trial attorney in this episode. Submitted by cgraul, 9/22/2011.

Goof: Perry’s “wireless” intercom box is missing from its usual place on the desk in the office scene with Nineveh Stone. Somewhat later, after Paul enters through the side door, the intercom has returned. Submitted by daveb, 4/14/2011.
+ Not only that, but the big brass urn / spice jar on the shelf behind Perry is missing in the first part of the scene, while Nineveh is there -- but when she leaves and Paul enters, it too reappears! Submitted by catyron, May 18th, 2018

Odder still - while Paul tells Perry and Della what he has learned about the Patent Medicine Baby, the urn is missing in Perry’s closeups but present in the medium shots. Whoever was in charge of continuity deserves a one way ticket to the gas chamber! DOD 02/09/22

++ Just after Paul does his 'Shave and a Haircut' knock and enters, the shadow of the boom mic is visible briefly. Submitted by ChiefKurtz, December 17, 2021

Location: Double duty. The house the two sisters live in appears to be the same house the rich lady from “TCOT Bullied Bowler” lives in. Maybe it’s a timeshare. The window patterns are different but check out the 2 very unique and unusual hanging lanterns by the front door. Also on the nightime scenes the porch light is in exactly the same place. The house is probably in Hancock Park which is again close to the studio. Submitted by Eric Cooper, 28 April 2011.

Location: I found the house! It’s at 357 Lorraine Blvd in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. It was originally built in 1898 for Issac Newton Van Nuys who developed much of the San Fernando Valley. The house is about 12,000 sq ft and looks exactly the same. Even has the same unique porch light after 50 years. Submitted by Eric Cooper, 6 June 2011. Pictures here.

Location: The opening scene, supposedly set in Shanghai, shows a hotel and a theater with Japanese names spelled out in English:
• Miyako Hotel
• Plaza Theater
At the Theater, the marquee reads:
Kim Komatsu
Tokyo Showgirls
[last line unreadable]
So that's pretty weird -- because this was shot in Los Angeles at the old, original Miyakp Hotel in "Little Tokyo." The front entrance to the hotel is shown here: Submitted by catyron, May 18th, 2018

At the beginning, Ernest announces the aunts’ ages as 73 for Sophia and 71 for Ninevah. The actual ages of the actresses, respectively: 74 and 46! You can tell the age difference if you look closely. Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 8/23/2011.

SEASON SEVEN PREMIERE! In Season 6 ('62-'63), Perry Mason aired Thursdays, 8:00-9:00 PM. On Thursday 26 Sept 1963 the THE NEW YORK TIMES (page 70) ran a half-page-width ad for that evening's Season 7 Premiere of Perry Mason on CBS:

{a large, very noirish Al Hirschfeld caricature of Perry Mason appears here, above the text}

2     NEW TIME!                                                                 ☺= CBS Eye
PERRY MASON 9:00-10:00 PM
Raymond Burr takes complete command in the courtroom (and in millions
of living rooms) with a thrilling new season premiere tonight. As the legendary
Erle Stanley Gardner's attorney-detective, he uncovers a swindling plot
that backfires into murder in the "Case of the Nebulous Nephew."

The Hirschfeld caricature, 5"w x 4¼"h, is very similar to this, without the bow tie but with Perry's left hand (pinkie-ring on) holding an early-20th-Century phone receiver up to his ear; a link to the image in the ad is in the "STARS' ADDRESS" Comment below. The NYT daily program listing (same issue, page 71) was:

9-10 -- Perry Mason defends a young man accused of killing an accomplice in fraud, "The Case of the Nebulous Nephew." Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, Ron Starr, others (season's premiere) - (2).

The Hirschfeld-enhanced ad was just one of many in the CBS Network's "The Stars' Address is CBS!" campaign of 1963. See Comments section below. Added by Gary Woloski, 11/21/13.

CARS. Buick's new Riviera debuted Oct '62. We finally get to see one in this episode!

  • (1) Ernest Stone's dark-color 1963 Buick Riviera, Licence Number 4Y5 MFG 015. Read the Apr 63 MOTOR TREND Road Test. Riviera came only as a 2-door hardtop at $4333. It was intended to compete with Ford Thunderbird ($4321) in the Personal Luxury Car niche. Prices are at factory for base '63 models. Compare: '63 Chevy Biscayne 2dr Sedan 6-Cyl was $2322. More on the Riviera Project in Comments section below.
  • (2) A 1963 Ford Galaxie 4-Door Sedan TAXI drops Perry and Paul off at "St Mary's Home for Children" in Charleston SC. The taxi is white with wide inverted-V stripes along the lower body, as if the car had originally been painted as some kind of emergency vehicle. The dark licence plate might actually be authentic 1963 SC.

The unusual plate on Ernest's Riviera is barely seen at 31:59. I couldn't make it out until I noticed that the MOTOR TREND test car had the same type, a "Manufacturers" (MFG) plate. See California "Occupational" Plates. Further examples: 56-pattern and 2012 Dealer (DLR) plates. Car(1)'s plate is the first Occupational Plate that I've noticed in the series but I now think that there could have been earlier appearances that I misidentified as Exempt Plates. Added by Gary Woloski, 12/17/13.

PLANES: The 4-engine jet that flies Perry and Paul to South Carolina at 23:50 appears to be an American Airlines Boeing 707-123B. If anyone knows more about planes than I do, feel free to correct me. -Submitted by 10-year-old-fan, 2 January 2014.
+ One of the few airlines that are still around today and WOW too that Perry and Paul have a couch to sit on in the plane...and way back in the 60's!!! ;-> Submitted by mesave31, 04/19/15.
+ I wonder what route this jet would take from LA - possibly to the recently opened Dulles Airport in DC? Rick P 10/12/21

++ Funny that the closing titles read "Planes supplied by American Airlines," as they do with cars. Unlikely that any planes actually moved; more likely American sent some stock PR footage. But that would be unwieldy in the credits. JohnK, 9 February 2022.

Hallway Furniture: Once again there is a view outside of Perry's private door. The lamp was in episode 160, but not in episode 174. The picture was also seen in #174 but different in #160. There was usually something different each time the hallway was shown. Submitted by H. Mason

This is the only PM appearance for Ron Starr, who played Seaman Mannion in nine episodes of the television series Mister Roberts...Mike M. 12/12/2016

This is the second of two PM appearances for Linda Marshall, who was a public spokesperson on behalf of the Baha'i Faith. According to Barbara Hale's Wikipedia page, Barbara also became a member of the Baha'i Faith...MikeM. 4/9/2018

Comments Edit

I've been watching Perry Mason on MeTV for several years now. I've appreciated that the episodes are shown in order, with a few exceptions for the death of a guest star, etc. This morning was an exception: instead of airing this episode, S7Ep1, MeTV aired S7Ep4 The Case Of The Deadly Verdict. This episode is not scheduled to be aired, at least not as shown on the preview guide. Does anyone know why? jfh 13Jan2020

On the phone, Irene mentions her husband is in Ithaca, NY, at trapshooting contest. Ithaca is where they used to make Ithaca Guns (shotguns, that is), which Annie Oakley used. The brand still exists but the factory has been destroyed, replaced by a parking lot for student housing for Cornell Unversity. Many students and townies walk or drive along the rather steep Gun Hill Road, where the abandoned factory sat, decaying and probably polluting the groundwater, on their way to campus. Though long an eyesore, its demise is kind of sad, too. The smokestack that says “Ithaca Gun” is still there, however. Submitted by gracenote, 2/11/2011.

Two thumbs up for Della Street’s spiffy new hairdo on this first episode of the new season. Submitted by gracenote, 2/11/2010.
+ DellaFan also approves! Submitted by DellaFan, 11/21/2013.
++ I've been watching this season, with a careful lookout for Della's sleek new coiffure, but from episode two through six Annabell seems to have reverted to the fuller version of last season. JohnK, 17 January 2018

++Yes but did you notice that she reverted to her old hairstyle in the last scene? Perhaps it was filmed during the previous season before she changed her hairstyle? DellaMason 12/23

On the DVD release of Season 7 Part 1, the credits which run at the end of this episode are actually the credits for episode #233, TCOT Sad Sicilian. Submitted by alan_sings, 8/21/2012.
+At 50:20, you can even see the copyright date as MCMLXV (1965). That was quite a goof by the DVD manufacturer. Thanks, Alan, for finding the episode the credits were lifted from. - Submitted by 10-year-old-fan, 2 January 2014.

Season 7 (63-64) is the last one for "Perry Mason" in the Top 30 ratings. It came in at #26 for the season. Submitted by Bill-W2XOY on 08/01/2013.
+ As for the "quality" of the shows Perry Mason was competing against in the 1963-64 season, a senior Advertising Industry executive predicted in the 16 Sep 63 issue of SPONSOR magazine (p58, 8MB pdf) that "The new tv season will not be better than last year's or any any other year before. . . . The critics will pan most shows, deplore their low intellectual content and applaud those that uplift the mind. . . . Viewers will stay away from these latter in droves." Added by Gary Woloski, 11/22/13.

One of the better episodes, with a real Agatha Christie quality to the tight plot - we even find the body in the library! The only episode I recall with a credit for the airline. That staircase set makes yet another appearance. Must have been the third most used set after Perry's office and the courtroom. DODay 12/18/17

Having just watched this for the second (or is it third time?) I was impressed that almost every scene has some subtle clue or element of misdirection, like Hugh Marlowe’s raised eyebrows when talking about young Caleb’s pony. I’d rank this as one of the better scripted shows. DOD 01/25/21

Uncle Ernest coached him in all the details before dropping the "imposter" off. He even had a model of the house made with which to train him. Submitted by JazzBaby, 4/5/2019.

"THE STARS' ADDRESS IS CBS!" was CBS TV Network's slogan for the 1963-1964 season. The network ran an impressive series of ads for the season's premieres in THE NEW YORK TIMES from Sunday 22 September to Sunday 6 October 1963 (dates inclusive, no ads on 3 & 5 Oct). The "STARS' ADDRESS" slogan headed the section of ads for each evening's premieres. The ad for each show was about 1/8 of a page in size and incorporated a large (approx 4"x 5") Al Hirschfeld caricature of the star(s). The Network's line-up and the ad campaign itself were featured in the SPONSOR magazine issue of 16 September 1963 (8MB pdf download), pages 23-33, with ten pages of montages of the Hirschfeld drawings. The Mason caricature is on Thursday night's page 28.
      The SPONSOR montages only include selected details from the ads. You won't be disappointed if you take time to view the full originals in the NYT issues at your public library's microfilm archive (the microfilm viewers are easy to use but if you have a problem, a librarian can give you a demo in a couple of minutes!). You'll notice that the HIRSCHFELD signature block is absent from most of these ads; it only appears in the 30 Sep and 1, 2, 4, and 6 Oct issues. The later dates tend to be reprises of the previous week's ad but are worth looking at (eg, Wed 2 Oct has Danny Kaye head-to-toe rather than just waist-up and Sun 6 Oct has Judy Garland with critics' comments from the previous Sunday's premiere, both Hirschfeld-signed). Hirschfeld's characterizations of the stars in these ads are generally like those in authorized reproductions available today but the the drawings are distinctly different; an obvious example is the phone receiver that Perry is holding in the STARS' ADDRESS drawing. There are quite a few "NINA"s to be spotted! (bonus: Nina's Revenge)
      In my opinion, these CBS ads with the Hirschfeld caricatures completely demolish the visibility of NBC's (lame) "Another Big Night on NBC This Fall" ads in the same days' newspapers. It seems that reproductions of the drawings in these ads are not available (Pity!). The only free internet record of them that I can find is in SPONSOR magazine. Added by Gary Woloski, 11/26/13.
NEW YORK TIMES page references LATE CITY EDITION (number of shows on page is in brackets): * Sun 22 Sep sect2 p21 (1) * Mon 23 Sep p58 (2) * Tues 24 Sep p78 (4) * Wed 25 Sep p86 (4) * Thurs 26 Sep p70 (4) * Fri 27 Sep p58, full page (8 incl Sat's 4) * Sat 28 Sep p44 (4) * Sun 29 Sep sect2 p18, full page (7)   * Mon 30 Sep p56 (6) * Tues 1 Oct p79 (1) * Wed 2 Oct p83 (1) * Fri 4 Oct p71 (1) * Sun 6 Oct sect2 p21 (2).

Buick Riviera was born in General Motors Project XP-715, by which GM aimed to take on Ford Thunderbird in the Personal Luxury Car niche. Since 1958, Thunderbird had been able to define its own market and enjoy a free ride in it without any significant US-built competition. GM Management offered XP-715 to its five Divisions. Cadillac and Chevrolet, already at capacity, declined. Buick, with declining sales and unused capacity needed a boost with a prestige project and took it on. Pontiac joined the Deliberate Attack on TBird from the lower price range with its new Grand Prix in 1962 ($3490), even re-styling it with sharper body lines and dropping in bucket seats as standard the next year: 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix (still $3490). Read this excellent & comprehensive (8-page) account of the XP-715/Riviera project at Thunderbird total model-year output, all models, dropped from 78,011 for 1962 to 63,313 for 1963 but rebounded in 1964 to 92,465. Riviera production was an even 40,000 (1963) and 37,958 (1964). Grand Prix production was 30,195 (1962), 72,959 (!963) and 63,810 (1964). Added by Gary Woloski, 12/18/13.

CARS: On a personal note, the 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 (very similar to the TAXI) was our family car as I was growing up. My dad was a Perry Mason fan. Perhaps the product placement really was effective! -Submitted by 10-year-old-fan, 2 January 2014.
+ Just to be clear: The TAXI, Car(2) is a Galaxie, which has one trim line on the body side. The next level up was the Galaxie 500 with a double trim line plus seven hash marks just forward of the taillights. GSW.
++ Thanks for the correction! My family car had the seven hash marks of a Galaxie 500, but the rear taillights of the Taxi look very much as I remember them. 10yearoldfan 18 January 2014

A number of observations:
- The murder happens remarkably late in the episode;
- The fraud scheme is so well developed that they actually construct a model of the house !
- The plot twist - I won't give it away, though it might be guessed by carefully studying the cast - while being both endearing and well in keeping with the show's subtle display of social consciousness, is pretty implausible, given the location of the orphanage.
Notcom, 032217.
+ An excellent point. Perhaps that is why it was made a Catholic, not public orphanage. [unsigned, undated]
++ I agree, in prociple, but the execution of the "twist" was so well done, it was worth any bit of implausibility.

<< Witless Witness | Episodes | Shifty Shoe-Box >>