#238: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 04/22/65
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Ex-baseball player Herbie Cornwall is striking out at trying to make a living selling arch supports. His wife Millie is a little more successful. She’s a very popular secretary for a prominent businessman. She’s so popular, she's playing around with most of the executives in her office.
When Herbie visits his wife’s office and catches her with one of her lovers, they argue, then Herbie picks up his briefcase and leaves. Later, he finds that it’s the wrong briefcase; this case contains $72,000. Herbie suspects his wife is in on an embezzlement scheme and after a fire at her office destroys most of the accounting records, he’s convinced. But before he can turn his wife in to the police, someone punches her ticket. Herbie is charged and Perry must come through in the clutch and get the ex-big leaguer off.
Starring Raymond Burr
in The Case of THE DUPLICATE CASE
Based upon characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins
Directed by James Goldstone
Written by Philip Saltzman
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 by Richard Shores
Music Supervision by Herschel Burke Gilbert
Martin West as Herbie Cornwall
Don Dubbins as Burt Blair
Susan Bay as Millie Cornwall
Steve Ihnat as Charlie Parks
David Lewis as A. K. Dudley
Herbert Voland as Ernest Hill
Audrey Larkin as Miss Dahlbet
Dave Willock as Bartender
Douglas Dumbrille as Judge
Irene Anders as Elevator Operator
Robert Nelson as Detective
Don Lynch as Policeman
Gil Frye as First Technician
Larry Barton as Second Technician
Director of Photography … John M. Nickolaus, Jr.
Art Direction … Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Robert G. Stone
Film Editor … Al Clark, A.C.E.
Casting … Harvey Clermont
Makeup … Irving Pringle
Hair Stylist … Annabell
Wardrobe Supervision … Ed McDermott, Evelyn Carruth
Set Decoration … Dorcy W. Howard
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … Marshall Schlom
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner
Automobiles Supplies by … Ford Motor Company
Produced by the CBS Television Network in association with Paisano Productions
In the early scene where Herbie asks Millie for some money, look at the wallet that she pulls out of her desk. It’s a wallet! Seems kind of odd, her being a lady and all that. A slip-up by the property master perhaps. Submitted by D. A. Supernaw, 9/21/2005.
+ The Case of the Terrible Wife: Millie is a real floozy - I wouldn't call her a lady. JohnK, 9 February 2018.
Susan Bay makes her only Perry appearance here playing Millie Cornwall. Since 1989 Ms. Bay has been the wife of Mr. Spock, a.k.a Leonard Nimoy. Submitted by PaulDrake 33, 14 October 2009.
Steve Ihnat played would be galaxy conqueror Garth in the 1969 Star Trek episode "Whom Gods Destroy." Mike Bedard 2.7.15.
In 1960, David Lewis (A. K. Dudley) played in The Apartment along with Fred McMurray, Jack Lemmon, Shirley McLain, among others. jfh 30Jul2019.
As Perry Mason makes a phone call from Dudley’s office during a critical moment of the show, in the background we can clearly see a reproduction of A Girl with a Watering Can (1876) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Submitted by gracenote, 5/16/2011.
+ That print is one of the most frequently used props, appearing in dozens of episodes, including the previous “Gambling Lady”. Also look for that door with the three carved panels, the elaborately carved staircase set, the screen with the elongated stars, the sconce with pierced metal cones, the starburst wall sconce, etc. The set designers were a very thrifty bunch. DOD 04/13/21
Refurbished Rolodex: For fans of stationery supplies -- At 3:20 on the DVD, in Millie's office, there is a single wheel basic Rolodex with a frame of steel tubing on top of a filing cabinet. By 5:27, however, it has transformed itself into a double wheel model, with the EMP shielding and crinkle paint. During that scene there was a lot of jumpy editing. JohnK, 9 February 2018
+ The two scenes -- one at 3:20 and the other at 6:20 -- are terrible. The tubular Rolodex, a stamp-pad spinner-holder, and a cloth-covered adding machine are on top of the cupboard at first. Then the small Rolodex is on Millie's desk, the stamp-pad holder has disappeared, the adding machine is coverless, and the giant duplex Rododex with the crinkle-painted case is on top of the cupboard. The set decorator is new this week. It was Carl Biddiscombe for a long, long, long time -- this week it is Dorcy W. Howard. As for the jumpy editing, there were two HORRIBLE cuts in the middle of the kissing scene, a scene which should have been a straight through shot. It was amateurish! Long-time film editor Richard H. Cahoon, A.C.E. was replaced this week by Al Clark, A.C.E. What a mess! Submitted by catyron, July 12th, 2018
++ TCOT Capering Office Supplies ?? And, I'm guessing, the cuts were to replace the bit in the middle with a bit from a take where the middle was better, but the two ends not so good, which only became obvious in the post-production stage, when it was too late to reshoot OLEF641 8/26/21
Sightings: The janitor who walks past Paul Drake’s office door and begins mopping in front of the elevator is none other than Distinguished Gentleman #1—sans toupée. He looks annoyed when twice Herbie walks through where he has just mopped. Later the Gentleman, hairpiece re-donned, turns up in the courtroom gallery, along with Pencil Mustache Man and Quiet Old Man #1. Submitted by gracenote, 5/16/2011.
+ That might be Little Old Lady #2 also in the courtroom. She is wearing a large hat. Read more about all these favorite frequent faces, if you please. Submitted by gracenote, 9/5/2011.
Murder Method: Millie Cornwall was the tenth current murder victim that was strangled. Submitted by H. Mason 5/1/15
Brent Building: Another tenant was introduced, Paul's neighbor, the Kushy-Walky arch supports business. Submitted by H. Mason 5/1/15
Business For Perry: Paul sent another person suspected of murder to Perry Mason. This was the fifteenth time Mr. Drake sent either a client or acquaintance to the lawyer. Submitted by H. Mason 5/1/15
This is the only PM directing credit for James Goldstone, who would direct the "Ironside" television movie in 1967...MikeM. 2/28/2017
This is the third of three PM writing credits for writer/producer Philip Saltzman, who was born in Mexico to Russian-Jewish parents...MikeM. 3/6/2018
This is the only PM appearance for Martin West (Herbie Cornwall), who also had a single appearance on "Ironside". Martin West's last IMDb Filmography role was in 1990. Martin West is now 80 years old...MikeM. 7/10/2018
This is the fourth of seven PM appearances for Don Dubbins. He also played Deputy D.A. Vincent (in two separate episodes), Asst. D.A. Bill Vincent, Ned Bertell, Kenneth Dalgran, and Hartley Elliott. jfh 30Jul2019.
Dubbins joins H.M. Wynant and Walter Burke in having played prosecutors and suspects in various episodes. DOD 04/13/21
The Case of the West Bend Thermo Serv: As has been the case now for a while, the ugly plastic West Bend Thermo Serv carafe and mugs have replaced the china ware Curious Coffee Set of many years .standing .. and Della no longer pours or serves coffee. They all just help themselves to stale thermos coffee from the repulsive plastic carafe. What a come-down. Submitted by catyron, July 12th, 2018
Once again we have no Ray Collins (Lt. Tragg) despite being billed. Has he appeared at all this season? Submitted by gracenote, 5/16/2011
+ His last appearance was in The Case of the Capering Camera, when his health had clearly declined. He died about ten weeks after this episode aired. Submitted by vgy7ujm, 29 January 2015.
This is another Case of the less Perry Scene time. Perry is not seen until quite late in the show with the guests doing most of the dialogue. Raymond seems stiff. This episode had a lot of good suspect characters for the last second surprise. There were several extreme close up shots as well and some looked blurry. Perry Baby 11/21/13
Paul's Suite: For some reason, throughout the series, the number of the Paul Drake Detective Agency was never given. In this story Drake's door and the adjacent business had no visible number. Thanks to a comment made by Gertie Lade in episode 31 TCOT Fiery Fingers we found out it was somewhere on the ninth floor. Submitted by H. Mason 5/1/15
When Herbie the ex-pitcher arrives home and angrily winds up and heaves the briefcase by the handle at the wall like an overhand 102-mph fastball, oh man that was perfection. MFrench 11/19/16
This is one of my favorite episodes - the smooth gestures the victim pulls off with the men she interacts with, including her husband, spoke louder than if she'd chewed the scenery. As an example, note the scene where she kisses him a few times .. but rebuffs him when he tries to kiss her. Cold blooded! Submitted by MikeReese, 6/12/2017
Perry describes Millie as a “two-timer”. By my count, she was more of a “three-timer”. DOD 03/30/20
I think the better question is who was NOT one of Millie's lovers? She certainly has an efficient work schedule to line up at least three of them and somehow keep her husband at bay. Submitted by Kenmore 01/02/2022
This episode reminded me of the movie "What's Up, Doc?", with at least three lookalike briefcases. I'm still not sure how Charlie ended up with the one that had the money.
If the Shoe Fits with two incomes in the family, and a decent apartment, Herbie is hardly down at the heels, but his wife walks all over him: one wonders if the writer's depiction of him as an "arch support salesman" wasn't meant as some kind of inside joke...literally. Notcom, 073119
This episode has more twists than a pretzel, but it seems Herbie accidentally picked up the wrong case, the one with the money, when he visited Lillian's office the first time. She had already taken the money from the safe and left the note. Then at some point that afternoon she gave the case she thought had the money (but was Herbie's sample case), to the young executive in preparation for their trip to San Fran (why she was taking the money on the trip is not clear, did she have a secret bank account there? Maybe she was not planning to return?).
Very cavalier of her to leave the case lying around her office with people in and out and then to just give the case to the young exec, who seemingly had nothing to do with the money at all (or was he lying on the stand? Were they running away? Was that why she rented an appartment?).
But it is interesting that according to the confession Lillian was not murdered over the money but because Charlie was afraid Lillian, when questioned about the money, would spill the beans about their affair to the police and Herbie might find out and then kill Charlie. So pre-emptive self-defense? But it was mainly jealousy and injured manhood (she was "no good" for laughing at him and going off to San Fran with another of her lovers). And maybe even anger at how she was treating Herbie, who Charlie liked, and to whom he directed his confession, even if Charlie clearly liked Lillian more!
This makes sense to me, but Paul was not buying it and even suggested a different motive in which Charlie was trying to convince Lillian to get the money back before Herbie really did call the police but then killed her (for laughing at him as she told him about her trip with the young exec? Certainly she would have been willing to cooperate with Charlie to get the money back).
Seems like the writer had so many ideas he did not want to leave any of them out (or errors? on the stand, Charlie seems to say he and Herbie worked for a printing company). The lack of certainty on so many points makes this one of the better puzzlers and leaves an air of intrigue and mystery even after that music comes up and the credits start to roll. Fred Flintstone 11/27/2020