#217: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 10/29/64
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (Revised)
Rick Scott runs a mining business that was turned over to him when his uncle Harvey went into retirement. But Rick, injured in an accident, has been out of touch lately, recuperating in Acapulco. Suddenly, Uncle Harvey wants to regain control of the company, and he wants Rick out of the way. That’s why Harvey is paying Rick’s nurse, Joanna, to keep him “occupied” in Mexico—a situation Joanna likes (although she denies it vehemently and never acts unprofessionally), because deep down she’s in love with Rick.
Rick’s brother tips him off that Harvey is up to something, and gets him to come back to Los Angeles by ship, with Joanna, for a stockholders’ meeting. The ship arrives, but Rick disappears. When Joanna lands in jail after finding Uncle Harvey dying of blows to the head, Perry must come to the rescue.
Starring Raymond Burr
in The Case of THE NAUTICAL KNOT
Based upon characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins
Directed by Jesse Hibbs
Written by Robert Leslie Bellem
Arthur Marks \ Art Seid | Producers
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
William Talman as Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg
Wesley Lau as Lt. Anderson
Music Composed and Conducted by Richard Shores
Music Supervision by Herschel Burke Gilbert
Tom Tully as Harvey Scott
Anne Whitfield as Joanna Monford
Lisa Gaye as Pamela Blair
Arline Judge as Emmalou Schneider
Henry Brandt as Rick Scott
Barbara Bain as Elayna Scott
Mark Roberts as Ben Scott
Whit Bissell as Laurence Barlow
Francis McDonald as Peg-Leg Jasper
Lane Bradford as Rider On Horseback
Renata Vanni as Rosa Martinez
Maurice Wells as Captain Vinson
Fern Barry as Esther Larson
Glen Vernon as Steward
Kenneth MacDonald as Judge
Thomas Hasson as Bellboy
Willis Robards as Banker
Don Anderson as Door Bailiff
Director of Photography … John M. Nickolaus, Jr.
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 … Carl Biddiscombe
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … George A. Rutter
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner
Automobiles Supplied by … Ford Motor Company
Produced by the CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions
Anomaly: Although listed as Emmalou Schneider, Arline Judge’s character is called Snyder. Submitted by gracenote, 4/6/2011.
Although credited, Ray Collins does not appear. Submitted by gracenote, 4/6/2011.
Sightings Several favorite frequent faces appear throughout the courtroom gallery during this episode’s hearing. Distinguished Gentleman #1 boasts an excellent seat in front. Quiet Old Man #1, inconspicuously seated in the back row, makes it into several cutaways. Little Old Lady #1, also in back, is visible in a cutaway to defendant and is as respectably dressed as ever. Submitted by gracenote, 4/6/2011.
+Before his courtroom appearance, Distinguished Gentleman #1 is seen on the Cruise ship and at the boat dock walking behind Harvey's taxi. We see Distinguished Lady #4 in court on the back row behind Burger. Submitted by BigBill767, 6/17/2016.
This is old time movie actress Arline Judge's last screen appearance, even though she was only 52 at the time this was filmed and she lived 10 more years. Submitted by PaulDrake33. 5 January 2015.
Barbara Bain is best known for playing Cinnamon Carter on Mission: Impossible and also as Dr. Helena Russell on Space: 1999 where in both roles she starred with her real life husband Martin Landau. Submitted by HamBurger 9/24/2016.
Murder Weapon: For at least the tenth time a person was killed with a fireplace poker (see episodes 12, 44, 72, 95, 104, 124, 170, 199 and 203). Submitted by H. Mason 4/9/15
Paul Drake on the Witness Stand: Paul had to testify again (see episodes 45, 77, 109, 167, 169 [mentioned - not shown] and 184 [coroner's hearing]). Submitted by H. Mason 4/9/15
This is the second of three PM appearances for Anne Whitfield, who would appear in four episodes of "Ironside"...MikeM. 1/30/2017
This is the second of two PM appearances for Tom Tully, who contracted a tropical disease while on a USO tour of South Vietnam and had a leg amputated due to the disease...MikeM. 2/5/2018
PM judge Kenneth MacDonald appeared on TCM today uncredited in the 1946 romantic comedy "Lady Luck" starring Barbara Hale and Robert Young...MikeM. 6/11/2018
There are always a lot of implausibilities in Burger's supposedly airtight cases. If the state's claim is that Joanna killed Uncle Harvey over money, what is their explanation for why she left the money at the crime scene? If the motive was greed, she could have and would have easily scooped up the money and then run outside pretending she had just found him that way. DellaMason
MeTV just aired this episode out-of-order. The schedule indicated it was going to air s9ep5 TCOT Impetous Imp, but aired this episode, s8ep6, instead. Any clues as to why? jfh 20Sep2022
> I'm happy to report a reason - post mortem tribute - for which it wasn't done: the show's two surviving female leads - Anne Whitfield and Barbara Bain - are both still alive. Relieved ! Notcom 092122.
Richard Shores’ incidental music for this episode is especially entertaining and festive. Submitted by gracenote, 4/6/2011.
Wardrobe Incongruity In the opening scene, Joanna Monford, dressed in her nursing whites, walks across the patio and her hard-heeled shoes clatter against the floor. Her nurse's shoes should have been soft-soled. jfh 05Feb2018.
+ They also should not have those "stiletto" super pointy toes either. OLEF641 7/28/21
When Perry finds the body, medium shots of the nearby purse show the $100 bills stuffed in sloppily. The closeup shot shows the bills neatly fanned. And would $60,000 in $100 bills fit in such a small purse?
The shipboard marriage makes no sense. Why would the captain conduct such a ceremony knowing it wasn’t valid, surely putting him in legal trouble?
We are treated to a dazzling array of ladies hats - and Paul’s sunglasses are to die for! DOD 02/28/20
The only episode I recall in which we have what appears to be an African-American court reporter. DOD 02/28/20
Los Dos Banos: I’m surprised Paul mispronounces Los Banos, using a hard ‘n’.DOD 02/28/20
+ "Scott Cattle Ranch Dos Banos Unit No. 1" is how the sign reads as it is being pulled down just as Paul arrives. "Two Bathrooms"? jfh 28Feb2020
++ In re Paul's pronunciation of Dos Banos, it is extremely common for people who are not familiar with Spanish to mispronounce words with an 'ñ', especially when the tilde is left off the 'n'. OLEF641 7/28/21
+++ With the writers' penchant for using somewhat altered names of real California places, I suspect this was the case here. There is a town in CA called "Los Baños". The writers replaced the Los with a similar sounding Spanish word, without bothering about its meaning, thus resulting in a cattle ranch with two bathrooms (and no waiting?). OLEF641 7/28/21
++++ I was born and raised in California. The town of Los Banos had no tilde and was invariably pronounced "Los Bannohs" during my youth -- just like San Pedro was pronounced "San Peedro" and San Rafael was pronounced "San Rahfell." This was the rural accent of the Central Valley, and was used by those from the Southwest and Midwest who came to work in agriculture there during the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s. Some of them pronounced Nevada as "Navayda" and Los Angeles as "Los Angelees." The official city website says, "Los Banos (/loʊs ˈbænoʊs/ lohss BAN-ohss), alternatively Los Baños (lohss BAN-yohss) with the tilde on the ñ, is a city in Merced County, central California." Only after the rise of immigration from Central and South America was there sufficient impulse to belatedly rectify the Spanish pronunciation. So, yes, "Los Bannohs" was correct in the 1950s and 1960s and is still correct today. And San Rafael is still San Rahfell. And nobody calls Detroit "Detwah." Submitted by old-timer catyron, September 19th, 2021
Poor Paul Drake found himself on the wrong end of a gun two times in this story. Submitted by H. Mason 4/9/15
+ Is it a rural California thing to greet everyone who comes to visit with a rifle or a shotgun? Submitted by gracenote, 4/6/2011.
++ It's a Lane Bradford thing, for sure. He played so many heavies it's a wonder his horse could hold him up! Submitted by catyron, June 19th, 2018
That part bugged me a bit. Paul was being friendly and that wannabe Wyatt Earp kept threatening him with a gun. As Paul was leaving, the guy cocked the gun and pointed it right at Paul! Aren't there laws in California against brandishing a weapon? But the other part is that the guy said they were only LEASING the land. Considering the deed to the land was still held by the Scott Company, the owner of that land would have been well within his rights to visit the land at any time and even send Paul to check things out.
Rare event happens 39 minutes in. Perry doesn’t find a parking spot right in front of the courthouse and has to walk. Submitted by Eric Cooper, 18 August 2011.
It looks like Paul's T-Bird took Perry's regular spot. DOD 02/15/19
+ Another rare event in this episode: Burger calls Perry as a Witness for the Prosecution and the judge rules it permissible. This is an onerous day for Perry! Were the Halloween Spirits out early (aired Oct 29)?
++ A nice touch: Burger concludes his examination of witness Mason with “Your witness, Mr. Mason.” Added by Gary Woloski, 1/18/12.
+++ It was the second time Perry was on the witness stand (see episode 17 TCOT Sunbather's Diary). Mr. Burger tried to get Mr. Mason to testify two other times but Perry solved the murder before it happened (episodes 87 and 121). Added by H. Mason 4/9/15
++++ Curiously, that episode also featured a(n atypically) likable victim; was "Perry testifies/undeserved death" somehow a single spot on the 'plot-wheel', or is it just coincidence ?? Hmmm....Notcom, 071420.
+++++I wonder at the legality of making an attorney testify against his client. If he was a witness to the crime, shouldn't he have recused himself from the case? Barring that, weren't there plenty of other people at the crime scene who would have been more appropriate witnesses for the prosecution? Seems like Joanna would have grounds for appeal if she was convicted on the strength on her attorney's testimony.
PM reuses the same walk-in-to-the-courthouse footage (same location of cars, people, etc.) 3 episodes later, in #220 Tragic Trophy. But in TT Perry no longer has his white pocket handkerchief when he's inside the courtroom. Submitted by (lowercase, with a comma and period) masonite, 12/12/12.
Lucky Don Anderson gets to hold Lisa Gaye. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 12/21/2013.
+ And he got paid for it, too. JohnK, 5 November 2015
Better than that, Rick Scott (played by the lucky Henry Brandt) got to dance with both Barbara Bain and Lisa Gaye. JohnK, 5 November 2015
++ The young double-shuffle: And helped Lisa to hold the shuffleboard cue while she was dressed in her body-hugging short short shorts. lowercase masonite, 4/13/16.
Priorities: Rick the swain and Joanna the swan, while playing musical chair on the deck of the cruise ship (13:09 onward of the 2012 Paramount DVD): "Joanna, will you please marry me?" "What?!" "I love you. (Rick glances off to the side.) I-I want you to be my wife, now." "Rick, what's the matter with you?" "Hold still, darn it. I'm proposing. Now, I know there's a lot to explain." "Please stop it. It-it's the wrong time of day for this..." "Marry me, Joanna!" "...Besides, I promised the ship's doctor I'd help with an operation tonight." lowercase masonite, 4/13/16.
+ "I promised the ship's doctor I'd help with an operation tonight" has to be craziest excuse i have ever heard. Submitted by catyron, June 19th, 2018
Carelessness: The usually careful Perry Mason touched the desk in the room where Harvey Scott was killed. Submitted by H. Mason 4/9/15
This is the first episode I recall where the murdered person had no negative personalities issues. The usual murder victim was despised by many. Submitted by Perry Baby 11/1/16.
>Recall the sad plight of the hapless Uncle George**. There've been a few others too over the years, often innocent victims of a hasty plot. Notcom, 071420.
(**See above for another similarity to that episode)
"..you poor little fool!". Not exactly what a brand new bride would want to hear from her husband's co-worker. Submitted by GoGertie 2/5/2018
Given the frequency of fireplace pokers for murder weapons in PM episodes(as listed by H. Mason above), why? True in the novels also? Or, because it's the one weapon found next to every rich family's mansion's fireplace? Submitted by GoGertie 2/5/2018
+ Actually, any house with a fireplace, not just mansions, has a set of fireplace tools. My house certainly is not a mansion, and I've got a set. OLEF641 7/28/21
I enjoyed seeing Francis McDonald as Peg-Leg Jasper -- he was a character actor in later years, but was a fine lead actor in the silent movie era. He always pleases me, no matter what kind of role he undertakes. Submitted by catyron, June 19th, 2018
TCOT Not Again! Knot Stop me if you've heard this one: someone's inheritance is tied to whether/not they're married; why yes, it was only six episodes ago...and Anne Whitfield, the bride/pawn here was also the star of that episode!! Perhaps we can forgive the producers however: when shown in 1964, the episodes were actually in separate seasons, so six months apart...presumably enough time for people's memories to have faded. Noted - and forgiven - by Notcom, 070219.