#185: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 10/03/63 Revised
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Here it is: the case that Perry Mason lost . . .
The jury returns from their chambers to give the verdict on case number CR11532; the State of California vs. Perry's client, Janice Barton. They find Janice guilty of murdering her invalid Aunt Amanda and sentence her to die in the gas chamber.
How did Perry manage to lose a case? Well, for one thing, Janice lied about where she was at the time someone gave her aunt poison instead of medicine.
Perry is troubled. The evidence stacks up against Janice but he still has a hunch. And as long as he has one of those hunches, he'll keep looking for the real killer. In this case, it turns out to be someone very unexpected.
Starring Raymond Burr
in The Case of THE DEADLY VERDICT
Based upon characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins
Directed by Jesse Hibbs
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
Julie Adams as Janice Barton
Joan Tompkins as Emily Green
Erin O’Brien-Moore as Letitia Simmons
Jan Shepard as Paulette Nevin
Stephen Franken as Christopher Barton
Lee Bergere as Dr. Nevin
Hollis Irving as Violet Barton Ames
Mike Mazurki as Arthur Jacks
Marie Worsham as Elizabeth Carson
Sally Hughes as Dr. Faulkner
S. John Launer as Judge Ryder
Robert Gibbons as Foreman
Olan Soulé as Court Clerk
Michael Fox as Dr. Hoxie
Holly Harris as Matron No. 2
Kathleen O'Malley as Matron No. 1
Sherry Hall as Bailiff
Bernie Gozier as Indian Guide
Bert Stevens as Juror
Director of Photography … Howard Schwartz, A.S.C.
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Gordon A. Webb
Film Editor … Al Clark, A.C.E.
Casting … Harvey Clermont
Makeup … Irving Pringle
Hair Stylist … Annabell
Wardrobe Supervision … Ed McDermott, Evelyn Carruth
Set Decoration … Carl Biddiscome
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … Marshall Schlom
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner
Automobiles Supplied by … Ford Motor Company
Produced by the CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions
Anomaly: Lee Begere, listed at Dr. Nevin, is called Dr. Nivens by Perry and others. Jan Shepard, who plays his wife, is called Mrs. Nivens. Posted by daveb, 12/20/2007.
+ Burger, however, addresses him as “Dr. Nevins” at least once. And Nurse Elizabeth calls “Nevins,” too. Perry Mason says “Nevins” during the scene with the nurse, but then in the very next scene reverts to “Nivens.” Finally, throughout the broadcast no matter how pronounced, the name is spelled “Nevins” in the captions for the deaf (at least those supplied by VITAC for broadcast today). Submitted by gracep, 2/15/2011.
David Sadowski noted in the Perry_Mason Yahoo! group that this high-impact episode was aired on 10/03/1963, two weeks ahead of its scheduled date, so as to be included in the fall TV ratings survey. More information here.Submitted by daveb, 1/16/2011.
CARS. At 21:50 Perry & Paul rush to see Janice before she's transfered to "Corona" ("California Institution for Women at Corona", officially "Frontera" in 1963, now just CIW. At the rear of the LA jail she's just about to be put into Car(1) for her transfer:
- (1) 1963 Ford Galaxie 4-Door Sedan, LA County Sheriff star on door, LAPD paint scheme & one rotating flasher on roof, licence plate not seen. This car is there again in the background of the closing scene when it clearly displays Licence Number E 014 ('63 black-plate, E=Exempt).
- (2) As Janice is taken to Car(1), a black 1963 Buick LeSabre 4-Door Sedan Licence Number QCV 007 is parked behind the jail, Screen Left. It's Lt Anderson's car, as seen & heard at 45:57 outside the Barton mansion when Anderson offers Perry a ride.
- (3) Another 1963 Ford Galaxie 4-Door Sedan in LAPD paint scheme with a roof-mounted siren flanked by a pair of red flashers is parked in the background also clearly displaying Licence Number E 014. Same paint & roof equipment as this but with Galaxie trim.
In the closing scene at the rear of the jail, just-released Janice is met by Perry, Paul & Della. They got there in Paul's new convertible. Cars (1) & (3) are in the background. Car(1) displays plate# "E 014".
- (4) Paul's NEW 1963 Thunderbird Convertible top down, black. As seen on Paul's car, the 1963 TBird has a narrow band of six pleats in the center of each rear seat with a wide TBird emblem embedded at shoulder-blade height in the pleating of each rear seat (two). 1962 TBird seats each have a wide band of 10-12 pleats and the rear has only one TBird emblem, that being between the rear seats above the central divider. 1963 TBirds next appear in Ep#191.
Background Cars. At 18:30 there's a location-setting shot of Perry's Brent Building with the lettering "BANK OF CALIFORNIA BUILDING" quite readable over the front entrance. Two cars are parked out front:
- (a) a probable 1956 Ford Country Sedan 4-door station wagon, medium color.
- (b) a possible 1963 Pontiac.
For 1963, the real-world LAPD bought a fleet of 1963 Ford 300 4-Door Sedans. Patrol cars had a siren and a pair of red flashers on the roof; paint scheme was white doors & roof, remainder black, as pictured. Detectives got all-black 6-Cyl '63 Ford 300s. In this episode Lt Anderson gets a Buick with plain-clothes driver: it's a nice car but not as extravagant as the Buick Electras that Tragg had in Seasons 3 & 4! Added by Gary Woloski, 12/28/13.
: (1) Encyclopedia of American Police Cars by Edwin J Sanow, p103.
Did anyone else find it odd that Paul is the one to draw his gun when they setup the killer, and not Andy (an actual cop)? Submitted by mesave31, 10/14/14
+ Yes; I felt the same way. Mike Bedard Presidents' Day 2015.
+ Bizarre and unrealistic. Submitted by catyron, May 20th, 2018
Sherry Hall, the credited BAILIFF, was both an actor & an assistant director. Mike Bedard Presidents' Day 2015.
Sightings: In the opening act, as the courtroom gallery fills with spectators, Distinguished Gentleman #1 (with glasses) and Quiet Old Man #1 file in. Little Old Lady #1 has also managed to sneak in off camera. The latter two return to the courtroom gallery to observe the sentencing of poor Janice. Ever wonder, Who Is That? Submitted by gracenote, 2/15/2011.
+ I do not see anything posted yet, but isn't that Miss Carmody walking in as the second juror in the opening scene? Submitted by mesave31, 10/14/14
+ Definitely Miss Carmody, front and center. Submitted by catyron, May 20th, 2018.
+ Well now I beg to differ. The woman sitting next to the Jury foreman is not Miss Carmody. And I was eventually able to freeze on the clip where the jurors are asked whether that was the verdict of them all (and they all nod), a scene where all 12 jurors are visible. Miss Carmody is not present. Submitted by Clothears, 21st June 2020.
Uncredited Actors: As the jury of the opening act grimly files in after deliberation, we find none other than Bert Stevens, Barbara Stanwyck’s brother, among them. He also joins the spectators (above) in the gallery as hapless Janice is sentenced. Submitted by gracenote, 2/15/2011.
Michael Fox, credited for his frequent role as Dr. Hoxie, does not appear. However, his voice is heard as Perry mentally reviews testimony from the trial while visiting the murder scene. Submitted by daveb, 2/16/2011.
Courtroom Reversal: I know I'm stating the obvious, but I don't remember any other episode with prosecutor Hamilton Burger on audience left side and defense attorney Perry Mason on audience right. It makes sense to switch locations in this rare trial that Perry apparently loses. -Submitted by 10-year-old-fan, 18 January 2014
PLANES: Paul flies to Brazil at 23:13, apparently aboard a DC 8. Note the dark spots on the lower portion of the nose (air intakes?) and the shape of the engine nacelles, which have smaller radius at front and back. The plane is painted in the style of TWA: a dark band outlines the passenger windows but stops abruptly before the pilot's cabin. If anyone knows more about airplanes than I do, please correct me. - Submitted by 10-year-old-fan, 18 January 2014
The Victim: This was the third story where the murder victim was never shown. See episodes 1 and 121. Submitted by H. Mason 2/19/15
Perry's client on the stand: Through dialog it was revealed that Perry had Janice Barton on the witness stand. In three other stories Perry had his client testify in court. (episodes 150, 162 and 173 was not a murder case). Submitted by H. Mason 2/19/15
Actresses: Erin O'Brien-Moore, Letitia Simmons in this story, and Erin O'Brien who appeared in episode 173 (TCOT Golden Oranges) are not the same person. Submitted by H. Mason 2/19/15
Seeing Dubb-le No that isn't frequent PM alum Don Dubbins, but rather uncanny look-alike Steve Franken. The producers had a curious abilty to hire look-alikes - think Constance Ford/Towers, Barbara Lawrence/Bain - yet somehow missed out on Phyllis Thaxter, who could match Julie Adams in both appearance and hysterics; and despite the obvious possibility of having such doppelgangers play siblings or clones - confused identity was a theme used several times on the show - the opportunity was never taken advantage of. Submitted by Notcom, 031016.
+ IMHO we can add Dorothy Green/Kasey Rogers to this list. jfh 19Aug2022
This is the second of four PM appearances for Jan Shepard, who played Nurse Betty on five episodes of the 1957 television series "Dr. Christian"...MikeM. 12/15/2016
This is the second of four PM appearances for Julie Adams, who was married to screenwriter Leonard Stern and to actor Ray Danton...MikeM. 3/23/2017
- In the eternal world of syndication Janice Barton will forever cheat Death, but here in the real world her counterpart has joined him. I met Ms. Adams a number of years ago at a book promotion, and tho a phallanx of handlers and well-wishers prevented me from being able to coax from her any memories of her PM experience(s), I recall she - then in her late eighties - was still beautiful and vivacious. Notcom, 020519.
This is the only PM appearance for Erin O'Brien-Moore who was born Annette O'Brien-Moore. She appeared in 82 episodes of the television series "Peyton Place"...MikeM. 4/10/2018
This is the only PM appearance for Bernie Gozier who was featured as King Moses in the 1959 television series "Bold Venture"...MikeM. 5/15/2018
Julie Adams and Mike Mazurki also appeared in TCOT Missing Button. Submitted by Steve Fox, 2/5/2023
DVD Sequence: This episode comes after #182 in the Seventh Season DVD set. Submitted by HamBurger, 8/4/2019
NOTE: Steve Franken, who played Christopher Barton, also played the insufferable rich kid, Chatsworth Osborne, Jr., on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” — submitted by judgebob1, 02/21/2021
I Know it’s Done for Plot Purposes, but: when the two greedy beneficiaries show up in Perry’s office to discuss $$$$$, there’s no way he could possibly have any ethical involvement in distributing that money. Even if the client were eventually executed, there would have to be some sort of order from the probate court finding her ineligible to inherit, and revising the distribution to the other heirs. — submitted by judgebob1, 02/21/2021
Julie Adams' Favorite Dress?: At 1:56 on the DVD, Julie Adams enters wearing a black dress with elaborate cording on the shoulders. She wears the same dress as a courtroom spectator in Episode 176 The Case of the Lover's Leap. Are there any other examples of a non-recurring character wearing the same outfit in different episodes? --submitted by Miss Carmody, 3 Oct 2023, exactly sixty years after this episode's original air date.
Another anomoly early in the episode: Della doesn't know where Perry is. jfh 15Dec2016.
Seeing Mike Mazurki lifting weights in this episode reminded me, as a lifter, (not a professional, just for exercise) that is one of the few times anyone who lifts weights is depicted as anywhere near normal. Submitted by MikeReese, 1/25/2012
I guess that 1963 was before the stereotype of prison inmates spending their time lifting weights, because Mazurki asks Mason, "And how could I do my daily workout in jail?" Submitted by masonite, 8/25/12.
Condemned-to-death prisoner Janice Barton at one point is "in transit", and she is not handcuffed in the back seat of car with an easily-accessible door lock. Submitted by masonite, 8/25/12.
And the windows are down!
Dr. Nevin takes his nurse to the Malibu beach house to talk her out of drowning herself. jfh 15Dec2016
Near Manaus, Brazil, the River Guide speaks to Paul Drake in Spanish. Interesting because a) Paul Drake doesn't understand the Spanish, and b) the local signage is in Portuguese. Submitted by masonite, 8/25/12.
That is a pretty cushy death row cell Janice Barton has. The cell is about 12X12 with a bookcase headboard bed. Two tables, desk lamp, plants, books, sheets, bedspread. Not bad at all. Submitted by PaulDrake33. 17 September 2012.
+ And she gets to wear a flower-print house dress and a white cardigan sweater. Submitted by catyron, May 20th, 2018
I clearly remember watching this episode back in 1963 with my mom, dad and grandmother. I was 10 at the time. My grandmother loved the show. I remember watching it with her on Saturday nights, so that had to be 1962 (or earlier). It became my favorite show during the 65-66 season. Anyone else willing to admit that they are old enough to remember the series during its initial run? Submitted by Bill-W2XOY on 08/26/13.
+Although technically I am old enough to have seen the series during the last two or three years on CBS (and I probably did occasionally) I just have no recollection of it. (I do recall watching Lost in Space and The Dick Van Dyke Show (CBS prime time and morning reruns) in 1965. For awhile we didn't have a TV in the early-1960s so this might explain my not remembering much before 1965.) Syndication is where I really began watching the series in the late 1960s (the local ABC station showed it at 10pm CST in between prime time and their local news!) Of course, I never saw this episode then since it was one of the 76 episodes not syndicated. I bought and read my first Perry Mason novel ("The Amorous Aunt") in 1970 at age 11! Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 9/9/13.
It's nice to see court clerk Olan Soule having real lines. Incidentally, my father just passed at age 90, and never missed an episode. Because of that, I watch every day, and have owned and read every book -- over 80 of them ! cgraul 11.1.13
+ "The Court Clerk...usually administers the oath to prospective jurors & to witnesses. The clerk is also in charge of physical exhibits introduced into evidence & is responsible for other administrative aspects of a trial," The American Bar Association website observes; Americanbar.org also notes "The Bailiff keeps order in the courtroom, calls the witnesses & is in charge of the jury. It is the Bailiff's duty to be certain no one attempts to influence the jury." Mike Bedard Presidents' Day 2015.
Barbara Hale noted that TV Guide counted TCOT Deadly Verdict among "The 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time" (50th Anniversary DVD). Mike Bedard Presidents' Day 2015.
There's that staircase set again!
Anyone else think Lee Bergere resembles Hank Azaria?
The pharmacy must have been pretty easy-going, allowing someone to order the same prescription two days in a row - and if Perry suspected the murderer had ordered the medicine in person, why didn't he just show the pharmacist some photos?
This episode has a real Agatha Christie vibe, complete with a "the murderer is in this room" scene, and the case is solved with no courtroom testimony by any of the suspects.
A minor point - This is the only episode I recall that anyone actually sits on Perry’s office sofa. DOD 01/13/20 [unsigned comments]
TCOT Noir Novelist Wow! This was the most like a film noir of any episode I've seen, thanks to the skillful writing of Jonathan Latimer and the direction by Jesse Hibbs. Latimer was a successful crime novelist as well as a scriptwriter. His film scripts included adaptations of novels by noir greats like Hammett and Woolrich, so no surprise he could turn this out. And I bet Burr loved the chance to deepen his character, as Mason struggles with losing a case. It's clear it isn't about his pride, but his empathy for his client. The scene near the beginning where Mason is reliving the case while exploring the deeply shadowed bedroom of the murdered woman gives Burr a chance to make powerful use of his incredible talent for expressing thoughts and emotions without words. Truly breathtaking. Submitted by JazzBaby, 4/8/2019.
One of a very few episodes showing Perry actually smoking a cigarette, and, at the same time, showing Perry bedraggled in his office. jfh 19Aug2022
This is one of the few Season 7 episodes to feature Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg. He looks very haggard but sounds considerably better than in his later (and final) appearance -- "The Case of the Capering Camera."
Business Goof - At about halfway in, just after Janice once again refuses to tell where she really was (at least on tonight's meTV broadcast), Perry visits Dr. Nevin to ask where he was at the time of the murder. The doctor is examining something in a microscope. What's funny about this is that it's a stereo microscope designed for use with both eyes, and he's just looking through it with one! Well, I found it funny, anyway. OLEF641 6/10/21
+ Great point. An alternative title for this episode could have been "TCOT One-Eyed Witless." Submitted by BobH, 10 June 2021.
HeTV?? Absoulutely no comment is made to that effect, let alone developing it as a plot point, but might it be inferred that the killer is a transvestite ?? An alternate explanation, of course, is that he thought he might be seen and wanted to again trick the police into thinking the killer was a women (or the producers wanted to trick the audience as to who the killer actually was). Still, it seems like an elaborate effort for such mundane purposes. Hmmm....Notcom 022622.
+ Shades of Norman Bates.
+ + Oh, and in TCOT Crimson Kiss, Perry suggested that a man could've put on lipstick to throw off the police and leave the lip print as a misleading clue. jfh 19Aug2022
I wonder if the writers of the first Perry Mason TV movie, “Perry Mason Returns”, were influenced by this episode. In both, a “woman” is seen only from the back leaving the scene of a crime. Of course, in the movie that woman is identified as - clutch the pearls! - Della! DOD 02/27/23