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#209: The Case of the
Drifting Dropout
Original Airdate: 05/07/64

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Barry Davis, a college-dropout-turned-drifter, has problems keeping steady employment. Mayoral candidate/junk dealer Mort Lynch, once a friend of Barry’s uncle, feels he owes the kid a favor and gives him a job.

Barry is still negative on meaningful labor, however. He quits his new job but quickly gets another, working as a reporter for a newspaper publisher who has a grudge against Mort Lynch. But when in the course of his reporting Barry learns that his uncle was a crook, he grows despondent. Things get worse when someone crushes Mort’s skull with a monkey wrench, which is found in Barry’s car.

Credits Edit

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


Directed by Arthur Marks
Written by Jackson Gillis
Arthur Marks \ 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
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg


Cynthia Pepper as Annalee Fisher
Malcolm Atterbury as Dell Harper
Carl Reindel as Barry Davis
Vaughn Taylor as Sanford Harper
Natalie Norwick as Miss Standish
Ted de Corsia as Mort Lynch
Neil Hamilton as Grove Dillingham
Blair Davis as Prosecutor
Harry Holcombe as Judge
House Peters, Jr. as Plainclothesman
Don Haggerty as Police Chief
Alex Montoya as Neighbor
Seamon Glass as Officer


“Perry Mason”
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 Biddiscombe
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … Marshall Schlom
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner
Automobiles Supplied by … Ford Motor Company

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

Trivia Edit

Paul examines a counterfeit 10-dollar bill. Later, Perry looks over the plate used by the counterfeiters. Oops! Maybe not. See here. Submitted by Markus Raab, 3/8/2003.
+ Additional information regarding the the printing plate has come to light! Use the link above to see it. Submitted by Roger Kirk, 1/1/2004, and Charles Richmond, 6/6/2004.
++ Aside from the plate being correctly oriented for offset printing, it looks more appropriate for something like Monopoly money than successfully-passable US currency. However, the ten dollar bill that Paul examines (at 24.09 of the 2012 Paramount DVD) looks like it has the signature of 1963-1966 Treasurer of the United States Kathryn O'Hay Granahan. This is a remarkable feat of counterfeiting, given that Paul later explains (around 41:45), "Seems some duplicate bills to that one Lynch had in his pocket were picked up, during the war, in South America." The 1933-1949 Treasurer was William Alexander Julian (wikipedia list). lowercase masonite, 4/2/16.
Actual US currency is printed by the gravure method, where the images is carved or etched into the plate (rather than the image being raised--as this plate is). Ink is then pressed into the grooves, and during printing, is pressed onto the paper. If you feel the dark, printed areas on a bill you will feel a slight texture of the ink from the printing process. (As opposed to the flat feel of other printed things like books and magazines that use offset printing.) --yelocab 05JUL19

Uncashable check? At 18:45 on the DVD, Barry looks at the check that Mort Lynch gave him. The date says June 10, but the year hasn't been filled out (it's blank: 19__). Perhaps that $5000 wasn't as generous as it seems. Submitted by Miss Carmody, 11 Dec. 2023

Inconsistencies?: When Paul Drake and Sanford Harper are in the restaurant, Sanford puts money in the jukebox, pushes a button and music starts without the record changer moving. Must have been the same record on the platter perhaps? HamBurger 9/4/2016
+ Anyone know the name of that piece of instrumental music? Submitted by catyron, June 12th, 2018
++ I believe it's "El Salón México" (specifically the second segment) by Aaron Copland. Submitted by LarryMason, 18 April 2024. Thanks for that! This blog is great! The melody was stuck in my brain and all I could come up with was Perry Como's "Catch a Falling Star". Joe B. 4/18/2024

Location: Much if not all of the beach scenes were shot at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu, CA. The final scene has them parked on the beach access road with PCH (barely visible) running horizontally and Mulholland Highway bisecting it in the background. Submitted by Eric Cooper and Linda Shockley, 23 July 2010. Some pictures here.

Sightings: Davis’s apparent landlord, played by Distinguished Gentleman #1, leads Perry Mason to the young man’s apartment. Later, a bespectacled Gentleman chats with a ladyfriend in a booth in bar. Submitted by gracenote, 3/21/2011.

Star Trek Alert: Two actors in this episode wind up in the Trekkie universe. Natalie Norwick, mis-casted here as frumpy spinster Miss Standish (despite her obvious beauty) plays the rather sultry wife of a murdered doctor in the original series Star Trek episode, “The Conscience of the King.” Seamon Glass (an officer) plays a tough-guy miner in “Mudd’s Women.” Submitted by MyFavoritePolarBear, 11/23/22.

Character Names: The plainclothesman’s first name is Joe. Submitted by gracenote, 3/21/2011.

Although credited, Ray Collins makes no appearance. Submitted by gracenote, 3/21/2011.

Uncredited Actors: It’s a little indistinct in the syndication print, but Don Anderson plays a uniformed officer who speaks to the plainclothesman at the junkyard. A little later he takes a piece of paper from the Police Chief at the scene of the crime. Submitted by gracenote 8/19/2011.

Although familiar to PM fans from his seven episode appearances, Neil Hamilton is most familiar world-wide from his role in the still-syndicated campy Batman series, in which he played Commissioner Gordon. Submitted by cgraul, 11/1/11.

Barry's Car, later referred to as an "old sports car" by a witness in court, is a TRIUMPH TR3 (produced 1955-1962). This lower-price sports car is the right type of car for a '60s Drifting Dropout but it wasn't really that old since its exterior door handles and relatively extensive trim (eg, fender mirrors) identify it as '58 or later (TR2s and early TR3s only had handles on the inside of the doors). Barry's car is what was popularly called a TR3A (1958-on) and might even be the last year's TR3B ('62). See Ep#178 Trivia for the design progression of the Triumph "TR Series" 1953-'76. TR2s and all the TR3s looked somewhat similar and can be misidentified. See this TR Spotter's Guide.

  • A 1956 upgrade of the front brakes from drum to disc-type made the TR3 the first-ever British production car with front disc brakes as standard equipment, yet
  • TR2s, TR3s and TR4s came with a hand-crank ("Starting Handle") as a standard toolkit item for starting the engine in case of battery failure! You can see the guideway/insertion point in the bottom-centre of the grill/front air intake of these cars. Very quaint, Wot?

A TR4 appears in another four episodes; see Ep#213. Submitted by Gary Woloski, 6 Jan 2012.

Spotty Sparks: I can't speak for the Triumphs, but a friend of mine had an old MG (although not as old as this one). Its electrical system was awful, and many times he wished for a hand crank. Like whenever it got cloudy. JohnK, 7 December 2017
+ Your friend's car was probably an MGB. MG retained 6Volt electric systems well into the 1970s so his MG probably had a 6V battery. Also, most British car-makers, including Triumph and MG, installed Lucas electrics. One of the most-heard sayings amongst sports car enthusiasts used to be (perhaps unfairly) "Lucas - Prince of Darkness". You should have been telling your friend to "Get home before dark." Gary Woloski, 5/31/18.

Same Set: The exterior and interior of Mort Lynch's house in the current episode 209 is the same set used in the previous episode 208 for the home of Dr. Gregory Pelham. From the outside we can see the same door with vertical grooves and the window with vertical panels of six panes each (episode 208 at 1:30, episode 209 at 19:17). Inside, there is the same distinctive trim capital moulding on an ornamental column (episode 208 at 19:40, episode 209 at 19:27), the same door to the bedroom area of the house (episode 208 at 21:27, episode 209 at 23:13), and a refurbished fireplace in the same place (episode 208 at 20:34 and episode 209 at 23:16). Credit goes to my son, currently an 11 year old fan, for pointing this out. - Submitted by 10yearoldfan, 19 September 2014.

This is the only PM appearance for Cynthia Pepper, who had recurring roles on two television series, "Margie" and "My Three Sons"...MikeM. 1/18/2017

This is the second of five PM appearances for Harry Holcombe, and the first of his three PM appearances playing a judge. Harry Holcombe had a recurring role as a doctor on the hit television series "Bonanza"...MikeM. 5/30/2018

Comments Edit

MAKEUP artist Irving Pringle must have had to work overtime with his makeup kit but even Miss Standish's hat and glasses on top of Pringle's best effort couldn't disguise the natural beauty of Natalie Norwick. Natalie also made an hilarious appearance in PM ep#28 as elevator-operator Mavis, a "unique, if weird, witness who has a photographic memory and can identify people by their shoes" (episode summary). The formerly sparse "Filmography" at Natalie's IMDb page has recently (2018) been expanded considerably. Added by Gary Woloski 1/4/12, update 5/31/18.

Among their many credits, House Peters, Jr. and Don Haggerty might have appeared together in the same production a few times. In this story they were both policemen. I remember them as adversaries in the classic Republic Pictures serial King of the Rocket Men. Peters was (good guy) Burt Winslow, Publicity Director for Science Associates. Haggerty was (bad guy) Dirken, the main henchman for the mysterious Dr. Vulcan (I. Stanford Jolley - episodes 83 and 111). It is available on DVD and worth watching if you like action. Submitted by H. Mason 4/5/15 What a stellar cast!Joe B. 11/22/22

The photography and lighting in this episode seem especially crisp. This is especially noticeable in the many closeups. DOD 03/03/21

During this season, there seems to be more of a "60's Look" with the younger guest stars sporting 60's hair styles and more contemporary interiors. Submitted by Perry Baby 10/9/16

Classic Perry In the final wrap up scene we see the two kids, Paul looking mighty sporty in his beach attire, Della smartly casual, and Perry wearing his suit and tie! Always classy. jfh 24Jan2018.

And don’t Paul and Della look spiffy in those rocking’ shades! DOD 04/04/23
Two-fer once again, Perry not only solves the murder of which his current client is charged, but also a murder which was committed twenty years earlier. jfh 05Feb2019.

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