#23: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 02/22/58
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book (Revised)
Della and Perry make an attempt at dinner in a romantic French restaurant only to be interrupted by business as usual. Perry gets a phone call and an envelope containing $500 from a mysterious woman. She wants him to make an exchange for her: the money for some documents.
It’s amazing enough that a lawyer would put himself on the line for a woman he’s never met; but it’s incredible that he’s still willing to represent her after the drop-off point turns out to be the scene of a murder.
The mystery woman, Marian Fargo, is played by a young and dark-haired Angie Dickinson. Charles Gallagher is played by Paul Picerni—fifties “jock” and war-movie hero.
Starring Raymond Burr
in Erle Stanley Gardner’s
The Case of One-eyed Witness
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins
Directed by Christian Nyby
Teleplay by Robert C. Dennis
Ben Brady | Producer
Produced by CBS Television in association with Paisano Productions
Gail Patrick Jackson | Executive Producer
Sam White | Associate Producer
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
Angie Dickinson as Marian Fargo
Louis Van Rooten as Samuel Carlin
Dorothy Green as Diana Maynard
Paul Picerni as Charles Gallagher
Eve Miller as Nora Kelly
Peter Adams as Arthur Fargo
Vincent G. Perry as Judge
Richard Benedict as Steve Daniels
Jan Arvan as Pierre
Sam Gilman as George Danvers
Jean Del Val as Waiter
Ralph Montgomery as Bus Clerk
Jack W. Harris as Court Clerk
Ray Kellogg as Detective
John Sands as Charter Pilot
Doris Wiss as Suzie
Shirley Buchanan as Phone Operator
Don Anderson as:
- Restaurant Patron
- Uniformed Policeman
Bert Stevens as Restaurant Customer (posted by gracep 10/22/2010)
Gene Wang | Story Editor
Production Supervisor … J. Paul Popkin
Director of Photography … Frank Redman, A.S.C.
Art Direction … Lyle Wheeler, Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Art Marks
Editorial Supervisor … Art Seid, A.C.E.
Film Editor … Otto W. Meyer, A.C.E.
Makeup … Mel Berns
Wardrobe Supervision … Dick James
Hair Stylist … Annabell
Set Decorations … Walter M. Scott, Charles Q. Vassar
Properties … Ray Thompson
Rerecording Mixer … Robert O’Brien
Script Supervisor … Cosmo Genovese
This has been a CBS Television Network Production
Filmed in Hollywood by TCF Television Productions, Inc.
CARS: 1957 Mercury Monterey Convertible, 2-tone: medium color & white, white top up (described as “beige & brown”), 1957 Ford Skyliner retractable, black, top up, 1957 Ford Thunderbird, black, w/ hardtop (Drake), 1957 Ford 2dr sedan, light color. From The Cars by Greg Cockerill.
Perry and Della dine at the classy Ferrolds Cafe. Perry complains about the $1 price of coffee. Across the room is a picture of a woman in a white dress. It’s an 1895 poster of May Milton by Toulouse-Lautrec. No wonder Mr. Ferrold charges so much! Learn more at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Submitted by Leah, 7/12/02.
Vincent G. Perry, who had a very abbreviated acting career, makes his only Perry appearance here as the Judge. I had to look twice to be sure he was not a different judge, the judge in “TCOT Final Fade-Out,” Erle Stanley Gardner. His appearance is quite similar. Submitted by PaulDrake 33, 4 December 2009.
+ Ontario-born Vincent George Perry has 21 IMDb Actor credits from 1954-73. Mike Bedard 4.21.15
For much of this episode (at least 3 days) it is raining. Many of the main actors are wearing raincoats. Yet in spite of the rain, on two consecutive days when Perry drives his car to make visits, he gets out of his automobile, goes into the house, and leaves the driver's side window rolled down in the rain. Submitted by PaulDrake 33, 21 February 2013.
+ He did leave it rolled down in the scene where he arrived with Drake, but it wasn't raining; he mentioned that it had been raining "until an hour ago." Submitted by francis, 5/24/13.
Rainy Continuity: When Perry and Della leave Carlin's house, the coat hanging next to the door is wet. When we see it again thirty seconds later, it is dry. Submitted by Alan Smithee, 4/7/14.
+ Arthur Fargo's overcoat is wet when Della and Perry enter Carlin's house. (It's on a coat rack next to the front door.) However, a minute later after D&P leave, the overcoat is dry. Kilo 12/12/2018.
++ Update: the overcoat appears dry when Carlin goes back inside but on closer inspection I think it has just dried out a bit and the wet parts are much lighter in color. Kilo 3/7/2021.
+ The sleazy private eye was wearing a trenchcoat even when it wasn't raining and he commented that it cost him $50.00. Was all of this trenchcoat business a gag?
+ I actually thought that was going to be a plot point, that Perry would mention it to Della, unless he did and they cut it from the FETV version [Krazy-K 82 8/28/2023]
Not one, but two applications of the "Pitkin Principle" (mentioned in my comments for Episode 18, TCOT Cautious Coquette) in this episode. ESG's Medford Carlin becomes Samuel Carlin, ESG's Arthman Fargo becomes Arthur Fargo. Submitted by BobH, 9 January 2016.
+ . . and ANOTHER character besides Tragg named Arthur -- two episodes in a row. OLEF641 10/28/2020
In the opening scene, bus passenger #2 (the woman with the black hat carrying the polka dot handbag) is the same actress (Jeanette Nolan) who played Mrs. Kirby in the previous episode, #22, TCOT Fugitive Nurse. Submitted by Kim, 7/5/10. Pictures here.
+ That's not Jeanette Nolan, who certainly didn't need to hire out as an extra at this point in her career. Submitted by francis, 5/24/13.
The newspaper held by the eavesdropping private detective in the first scene has a screaming headline “PROMINENT ATTORNEY ....” (the rest of the headline is obscured). This newspaper is from an earlier episode in the first season when Perry is charged with perjury. Submitted by Kim, 7/5/10. Pictures here.
Speaking of LA Chronicles: At about 25:35 on the 2006 Region 1 Paramount DVD is a newspaper with the screaming headline WIFE INDICTED FOR HUSBAND'S MURDER, subhead "Marian Fargo Accused of Shooting Husband", and a photo of Marian Fargo. But there's no associated news article. (26-year-old Angie? Yep, that's all I need.) Submitted by (lowercase, with a comma and period) masonite, 07/22/13.
Uncredited Actors: This is another two-fer episode for Don Anderson. As the scene at Ferrold’s Restaurant begins he is talking to headwaiter Pierre (played by Jan Arvan) as Marian Fargo (Angie Dickinson) watches Mason and Della arrive. Later in the episode, after the explosion at Carlin’s home, he plays a uniformed policeman who stands in the driveway where Mason and Paul are watching the action. Submitted by FredK, 30 September 2010.
+ Actually, we see Anderson at the restaurant when Marian herself arrives. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 4-6-2014.
Location: About 27 minutes in there is a quick exterior shot of Parker Center at 105 N. Los Angeles Street. Submitted by Eric Cooper, 10 January 11. 150 N Los Angeles St.
Sightings: A busboy at Ferrold’s is none other than the Pencil Mustache Man, all bedecked in white. Distinguished Gentleman #1 plays a witness at the fire scene and the court reporter. A courtroom spectator. is Distinguished Gentleman #2. More here. Submitted by gracenote, 8/30/2011.
+ We see Distinguished Lady #4 in the opening scene at the bus station and later in court behind Perry. We also see the Pencil Mustache Man at the bus station after the murder. Submitted by BigBill767, Nov 11, 2016.
Syndication cuts: Della gets call from Drake's operator who's trying to locate him; Drake at pay phone with date [see comment below] and Della telling him to meet Perry at Carlin's; Nora and Diana leave and their conversation; scene with Mason and Marian concerning Charles, blackmail and the gun that killed Carlin and her husband; scene with Charles at his apartment with Daniels. Additional Hallmark cuts: Perry and Della driving away from Carlin's house; part of Perry watching the Carlin house before the woman arrives; fire truck #3 arriving, the fire, the firefighters readying the hoses and Perry watching; scene with Drake and the waiter at Ferrolds; Drake tells Perry he can't locate Pierre; Perry calls Lt. Tragg; part of Della and Charles' conversation about Charles talking to Mason, an officer of the court who would have to turn him in; another conversation with Mason and Marian about truth, alibis and Charles. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 7/17/12.
After the explosion Perry tells Paul to call the fire department and Paul rushes off. Right before the scene segues to the next one we see Paul returning. Did he have to borrow a nickel from Perry to make the call? Did he spend all his loose change on his abandoned date? Or maybe Paul made the call from his cell phone enabling him to return quickly. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 11/18/13.
After the fire trucks arrive we see Perry talking with the neighbors, followed immediately by a close-up of him watching the fire and then segues back to him talking with the neighbors as Paul returns. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 11/18/13.
+ And it looks like Distinguished Gentleman is that neighbor. DOD 06/16/20
After Perry sees the body through the window, he makes no attempt to hide his fingerprints when he opens the door although he later uses his handkerchief on the phone when he calls Tragg. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 11/18/13.
Paul tells the waiter he's not hungry. Is that a first for Paul? Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 11/18/13.
+ Speaking of Firsts, is this the 1st/Only time Della addresses Paul as "Mr. Drake" [over the phone scene]? Mike Bedard 5.3.16 MeTV airing.
Mason tells Carlin that his client said he had to see him tonight. We seem to hear the entire phone conversation between Mason and Marian and she says no such thing. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 11/18/13.
Most characters pronounce Los Angeles with a soft-g sound. Diana Maynard consistently pronounces with a hard-g sound. In Burger's examinations of Diana Maynard he pronounces it both ways. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 11/18/13.
Incorrect show summary: Perry actually received two envelopes. One contained his $500 retainer; the other contained (presumably) $10,000 he was to give to Carlin (although it looked awfully thin to contain $10,000). Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 4-6-2014.
+ $1,000 bills were still in circulation at the time. jfh 03Jun2019.
It's for you, Mr. Mason: A baffled Perry has just sat down at Ferrolds Cafe when Pierre, the headwaiter, brings him a telephone and advises him that it's a "her" calling. Submitted by francis, 6/07/14.
Burger's office (@ 40:04) appears to have been redecorated since "The Runaway Corpse" (@ 25:02). There is slightly different lettering on the door, his desk and chair are different, the coat/hat rack and large lamp in the corner have been changed, and the back door now has a "PRIVATE" sign on it. However, the back door itself appears to be the same door and Burger's desk lamp and ashtray may be the same although the lamp now looks a little darker. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 6/21/14.
Vanishing address: As Perry and Della leave Carlin's house there are numbers on the door. The numbers were not there when they arrived and were gone when Carlin watched them leave. The numbers reappear when Charles leaves the house. Submitted by H. Mason 10/3/14
+ Continuity goofed. Different sets were used for the interior and exterior shots, as, in those days, exterior sets practically never had finished interiors, and interiors were missing whole walls to accommodate all the crew, cameras, sound gear, etc. Whoever was supposed to check missed that the door on the exterior set had no numbers on it. OLEF641; 8/30/2017
License plate: The license plate on Perry's Ford has changed from HGA 056 to MPJ 638. Submitted by H. Mason 10/3/14
They are now using the courtroom setup where the witness stand cannot be seen from the defense table and vice versa. The front of the witness box is inline with the judge's bench. In some episodes, you can see Perry sticking his out when they do a behind the witness shot toward the defense table. It looks like poor planning and should have been fixed immediately. Eventually, it is corrected with the witness box jutting out. Part of the problem is the space in front of the prosecutor/defense tables is tight in some shots. Submitted by Perry Baby 12/5/14.
Sponsored Items: I watched this episode on MeTV and once again I saw the same FOUR sponsored items pictured at the end in episode 7 and 21 show up here. This time, I WAS ABLE to see that the FIRST one was actually "Sweetheart Soap", as helpfully provided by Wiseguy70005 on 4/14/15 for episode #7. The picture and lettering were VERY clear in this one...YAY! ;-> The Second was "New Blue Dutch Cleanser". The Third was "trend" (with a lower case, "T"). The Fourth was "Beads-O'-Bleach". Submitted by mesave31, 04/21/15.
This is the only PM appearance for North Dakota born Angeline "Angie" Brown who changed her last name in 1952 when she married football player Gene Dickinson...MikeM. 8/9/2016
In the original novel, the reason the lady stayed silent was that her husband was involved in an adoption/blackmail racket centred around a woman supposedly of Japanese ancestry who was working at the Golden Goose, the restaurant that features in both the novel and the episode. The child's new family would be informed that the child's mother was employed at the Golden Goose, and from the girl hired to play the part, they would learn that she was supposedly of Japanese ancestry. The girl would then apparently sue for custody of the child, and the family would pay out money for fictitious private detectives and attorneys who they thought were working for them . . . Hermit Crab. 2/2/2017
Several scenes with Civil Defense posters complete with mushroom clouds. In the bus station at the beginning and later on a building wall when Paul is using the telephone booth. Submitted by Kilo 5/24/2017
This is the first of three PM appearances for Paul Picerni, who was the bombardier on a B-24 during World War II. In 1947, Paul Picerni married a Mason...Marie Mason...and they remained together until his death in 2011 at the age of 88...MikeM. 5/22/2018
That $1.00 cup of coffee would ring in at $7.35 today. How much does a cup of coffee cost at some of those well-known coffee shops today? (I’m not a coffee drinker). Submitted by billp, 1/1/2009.
+ A tall (12 ounces, the smallest size) "freshly brewed coffee" at Starbucks is $1.85 as of 8/30/17. That's more than double the 5 ounces that was the customary serving in Perry's day! Let's hope they got free refills ;-) OLEF641; 8/30/2017.
++ Another way of looking at it: what would it run in an expensive (French) restaurant in LA today ?? Le Comptoir has it priced at $8...la plus ca meme... Catered by Notcom, 083017. I see it's currently up to $15!! Now I'm with Perry: just what are they putting in there ?!?! Updated by Notcom 111221.
+++ Reality Check, please: When I was a kid, probably 1964 or so, I remember my father's indignation over the $1 a cup he had to paid for coffee while staying at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. John K, 30 August 2017
Marian Fargo is being blackmailed for $1000 ($7,350.35) a month. So far she’s been taken for $10,000 ($73,503.46). Now the blackmailer wants a lump sum payment of $10,000. Marian would be out $147,006.92 today if she paid that lump sum. Submited by billp, 1/1/2009.
The plot point about Charles being a fugitive is reminiscent of that terrific Paul Muni movie “I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang”. DOD 06/16/20
Perry’s $500 retainer amounts to $3,675.17. No wonder they scoot out of the bistro. Submitted by billp, 1/1/2009.
In one scene on the DVD (normally cut from TV), Paul calls Perry from a phone booth while keeping a date waiting in the car! It’s one of the few times that Lothario Paul enjoys success (though perhaps temporary) with women on-screen! Submitted by Ed Zoerner, 5/10/2009.
+ Seems odd that Paul stops with his hot mink-draped date in the car at a phone booth to check in with Mason. He is the kind of guy who today would at least turn his cellphone off for a couple of hours in that situation. MFrench 8/27/16
Trench coats play a prominent role. At about 15:16 on the 2006 Region 1 Paramount DVD, Marian's husband takes his coat off the coat rack by the front door inside Samuel Carlin's house. Given that Marian was due to stop by at that time, wouldn't she have recognized the coat? Or do they all look alike? Soon after, Paul joins Perry in a stakeout of the house across the street. (How many cigarettes per hour does Perry smoke? There are at least 8 butts on the ground.) Perry is partially hidden behind the bushes and wearing a dark trench coat. Professional detective Paul shows up, in a very light-colored trench coat. (Shades of Victor Laszlo in Casablanca?, where Ferrolds waiter Jean Del Val was working as a police officer.) Submitted by (lowercase, with a comma and period) masonite, 07/22/13.
Speaking of conspicuous consumption, Marian's brother Charles tells Della that "while I was in prison I picked up TB" just before he takes a healthy drag on a coffin nail. In the next scene, back in his (flimsy motel?) room, after he ejects a visitor and slams the door, he starts coughing. Submitted by (lowercase, with a comma and period) masonite, 07/22/13.
+ He coughed at the beginning of that scene as well. In addition, he lights a second cigarette (which was just sitting on the desk) while still smoking the first one! He finally puts the first one out in the ashtray before finishing it and the second one after Daniels leaves without smoking it much at all. He could have just finished the first one and had the same amount of cigarette. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 11/18/13.
++ Believe it or not, until 1964, cigarettes were recommended as beneficial for certain complaints: "Tobacco companies hosted dinners at fancy restaurants for throat specialists, where the practitioners were encouraged to recommend cigarette brands to patients with coughs and other complaints." (source: http://www.healthcare-administration-degree.net/10-evil-vintage-cigarette-ads-promising-better-health/)
In both the novel and the episode Perry states that the unknown woman sounded "terrified" (novel) or "frightened to death" (episode). However, Angie Dickinson doesn't sound like she is in either condition. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 11/18/13.
When Della and Perry arrive at the restaurant, watch Della carefully as she spots Marian. The look on her face is priceless. (Perry, ever the gentleman, keeps his eyes straight ahead.) The subsequent shot of Marian and Della at the reservation desk is almost visual overload. Submitted by DellaFan, 4/8/2014.
When Marian telephones Perry at the café, she tells him Carlin has a file concerning a man named Charles Gallagher. She says, “Please examine it closely. Unless it is complete and authentic, you’re not to pay for it.” Perry doesn’t know the identity of the woman speaking to him, has never met Charles Gallagher, and has no idea what Gallagher may have done or what the file may contain. How is he to know whether or not the file is “complete” before handing over ten grand? And then there is the virtual certainty that Carlin would have made copies. Submitted by Dan K, 26 Sept 2018.
The governor chose Not to extradite Charles. The Constitution & Articles of Confederation have EXTRADITION clauses: any person who "shall flee from justice"..."shall" on "demand of the...[governor] of the State from which he fled, be delivered..to the State having jurisdiction" [Article 4 in Both; ourdocuments.gov]." Mike Bedard 4.21.15/rev. 5.3.16.
+`The governor who has "no desire to extradite Charles Gallagher" is the one in the state from which he absconded as a juvenile, since he feels Gallagher "has proved he can be a good and useful citizen" which is the supposed point of juvenile detention. OLEF641 10/29/2020
Paul had a date; as a Single person, I appreciate that Perry, Della & Paul were all Singles in the '50s when Marrieds were more typical. Mike B. 5.3.16.
Director Howard Hawks supposedly cast Angie Dickenson in her breakout film, "Rio Bravo", based on seeing her in this episode. Submitted by Kenmore 06/01/2021
In the novel Carlin and Pierre had similar body types which made the identification easy to confuse. In the episode Pierre and Carlin don't look anything alike with Carlin several inches shorter and stockier. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 11/18/13.
+ Actually, they're practically the same height; each is almost exactly the same height as Mrs. Fargo. Pierre is not quite as thickset as Carlin, but figuring out the heft of a "badly burned body" would be difficult I would think. OLEF641; 8/30/2017.
++"The Case of the Faceless Man?" Coincidentally, in the very same year that this episode aired, actors Luis Van Rooten (Carlin) and Jan Arvan (Pierre) also appeared in the B-horror movie, "Curse of the Faceless Man" (which starred Richard Anderson). One can only surmise that Arvan's "badly burned body" in this PM episode would have been "faceless" as well, given the quickness with which the authorities mistakenly concluded that the body was Van Rooten's. Submitted by BobH, 3 November 2017.
Why is Carlin in the courtroom at all? Was he that curious? Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 11/18/13.
+ Not only is he in the courtroom, but as the final courtroom scene opens, he's seen--from a distance, of course--sitting immediately next to his accomplice. And in a not exactly impenetrable disguise: a toupee, a false moustache, and glasses. Submitted by BobH, 30 January 2016.
This is the second episode in a row that a small private airplane is part of the story.
Also the second episode in a row wherein a body is misidentified. DOD 06/16/20
So Diana, Pierre, Carlin, and Arthur are all somehow involved in a blackmail scheme. I’m still not sure how they all connected. DOD 06/16/20
>> It's pretty simple: the former were all confederates, hired by the latter to extort money from his wife, after learning about her brother. What's unclear to me is what part - if any - the pilot played: did he deliberately misidentify Marian, and if not was the point of the scene where he does so simply to increase tension ?? Why didn't Perry make an effort to impeach him ?? Notcom 111221.