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#266: The Case of the
Unwelcome Well
Original Airdate: 04/03/66

Summary Edit

From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Perry becomes immersed in a tale of oil, power, and, of course, murder.

Credits Edit

Random actor from episode. Click for page of all available.


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


Directed by Harmon Jones
Written by Ernest Frankel & Orville H. Hampton
Arthur Marks \ Art Seid | Producers
Gail Patrick Jackson | Executive Producer
Ernest Frankel | Story Consultant
Orville H. Hampton | Associate Story Consultant
Raymond Burr as Perry Mason
Barbara Hale as Della Street
William Hopper as Paul Drake
William Talman as Hamilton Burger
Richard Anderson as Lt. Steve Drumm

Music | Richard Shores


Wendell Corey as Jerome Klee
Paul Brinegar as Jason Rohan
Marilyn Erskine as Mirabel Corum
Les Tremayne as Harry Lannon
James Best as Allan Winford
Gloria Talbott as Minna Rohan
Danielle DeMetz as Monique Martin
Edmund Hashim as Prince Ben Ali Bhudeem
William Lanteau as Ross Darley
Hal Lynch as Matt Rohan
Gordon Westcourt as Job Rohan
Martin Braddock as Dick Yates
Frank Biro as Judge
Lee Miller as Sgt. Brice
Robert R. Stephenson as Guard


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 … Bob Wolfe, Evelyn Carruth
Set Decoration … Carl Biddiscombe
Properties … Ray Thompson
Production Sound Mixer … Herman Lewis
Script Supervision … Marshall Schlom
Theme Composed by … Fred Steiner
Automobiles by … Ford Motor Company

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

Trivia Edit

This episode reunites Wendell Corey with fellow Rear Window alumnus Raymond Burr. Submitted by billp, 15 November 2009.

Wendell Corey, whose later acting career was marred by alcoholism, seems to be in a constant state of inebriation (e.g. slurring of words, bleary-eyed expression) through the course of his appearance. He still manages to turn in a good performance, however, as a despicable murder victim candidate. Submitted by BobH, 21 December 2015.

Gloria Talbott, who makes her final of four appearances here on Perry playing Minna Rohan, will forever be known to sci-fi fans as the woman who Married A Monster From Outer Space in the 1958 movie. Submitted by PaulDrake 33, 16 December 2009.

Paul Brinegar makes the second of his two Mason appearances, the first being the very minor role of Tom Sackett in the 1958 episode, TCOT Sun Bather’s Diary (#17). In the intervening years, he appeared as trail cook George Washington Wishbone on Rawhide (1959–65). His characterization of Jason Rohan is pretty much a reprise of the Wishbone persona. Submitted by alan_sings, 20 January 2012.
+ Brinegar coincidentally happened to be in the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode that aired last night - he was in three of the latter, so there are six possible combinations - and while, by itself, this is just an interesting bit of trivia, that he is just one of several persons for whom this has happened illustrates well the type of peformer the made PM "work": character actors who filled up the background of 50-60's television. Notcom, 101922.

If Wikipedia has their birth dates right, Paul Brinegar was only 10 years older than Hal Lynch, who plays his son, Matt. That's rather precocious fatherhood indeed! I was motivated to check their respective ages by how mature Matt looked. Submitted by JazzBaby, 6/27/2019.
+ Adding to the absurdity, at one point he remarks on "our thirty years of marriage": Gloria Talbott was all of 35 years old here...and didn't look a day older. Notcom 100521.
++Actually, he said "our two years of marriage." Apofisu 3/7/2023

Frank Biro Judged 2 Perrys, a Get Smart & a Streets of San Francisco; he was 1 of 9 actors who presided over 2 episodes {IMDb; Statistics page]. Mike Bedard 3.11.15.

Perry once again gets his coveted on-street parking space right in front of the courthouse! ;-> Submitted by mesave31, 03/12/15.

And, once again, enroute to the courtroom he loses his pocket square and gets a haircut! Oh, and what happened to his Lincoln? DOD 05/07/20

This is the only PM appearance for Danielle De Metz, who was born in Paris in 1938...MikeM. 4/6/2017

This the second of two PM appearances for Marilyn Erskine, whose 1945 marriage to producer/director Stanley Kramer was annulled in two months...MikeM. 4/12/2018

When Harry Lannon asks Della, at Klee's dinner party, whether she's enjoying her glimpse of the hoi polloi, is that a joke or ignorance on the part of the scriptwriters? Hoi polloi (no 'the' needed, as hoi is the determiner in Greek) means the common people, the unwashed masses. By the way, could that dinner party be any more unpleasant? Submitted by JazzBaby, 6/27/2019.
+ I have to empathize with the writers getting that wrong. It was decades before I found out what hoi polloi really meant; I can only guess that I associated it with "hoity toity"? To this day I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself that it means the opposite of what first comes to my mind. OLEF641 10/5/21

Comments Edit

Enjoyable episode with one exception. Jerome Klee is played with zero humanity. There are lots of people who are ruthless and even sadistic. But they still have some sliver of humanity, even if it's just a vice or addiction. Klee was played was like he was an automaton. I expected to see some sliver that he was alive (love for women, fast cars, his dog, etc). But we saw none of that in the episode, which hurt the storyline. Even the robotic way he spoke seemed contrived. The conflict with his two girlfriends didn't make sense in light of his lack of anything human. Why did he even have a girlfriend at all if the only thing he cared about was money? He doesn't seem the type that would enjoy or invite physical contact nor did he care about what people thought if he showed up to a party alone. So why did he bother with women at all?

Jerome Klee is the most ruthless, vicious character in any of the 271 episodes. This episode is both brutal and whimsical. Excellent dialog, good acting, and a plausible plot (other than the king/child-brother) make this one of my favorite episodes. Submitted by Glovatski Inc, 25 June 2008.
+ I think it's a toss-up between JK & the Hostile Housekeeper in Devious Delinquent for Most Ruthless. Mike Bedard 3.7.15.
++ Klee's rudeness (on first meeting Della in her amazing black party dress) is, of course, unforgivable! Bob61571..12 April 2018
+++ Klee was the most deserving murder victim in the whole series, in my opinion. I was frustrated by how long it took for him to be killed! Submitted by JazzBaby, 6/27/2019.
++++ At one point, even Perry is mad enough at Klee to become a murder suspect himself. Submitted by HamBurger, 8/23/2020

You could argue this is the only episode in which Perry’s actions lead to murder. Klee is a nasty guy, but his reasoning makes perfect business sense. Since Perry wrote the contract, I’m surprised he didn’t anticipate the possibility Klee would keep any oil in reserve and would be more cautious in dealing with the Rohans.
Anyone who has seen “White Heat” knows that firing a rifle in a refinery is not a bright idea.
All in all, a pretty good episode, although the idea that the king of an oil rich Arab country could travel unescorted and unrecognized is a bit of a stretch. Also, I believe “Jodhpur” is of Hindi, not Arabic derivation. DOD 05/07/20

Has Della ever looked so scrumptious? She easily outclasses the other women at that glum affair.
Another appearance of that staircase set - and another extravaganza of hideous wallpaper. Ford certainly got their money’s worth of advertising for their Lincoln. And when did Perry move from the Brent Building to the Bank of California Building (neither of which has exterior balconies)? DOD 05/07/20

Was Perry's building named "National Bank of California" in this episode rather than "Brent Building" as earlier (when he pulls up to curb/parks)? Mike Bedard 8.11.2017.
+ See the Brent Building page for the full story. Also see note in previous show about building. Added here by HamBurger, 8/23/2020

It’s easy for many folks on the East Coast to empathize with Rohan, because many property owners are fighting to prevent natural gas companies from drilling via hydrofracking on the Marcellus Shale. You go, old man! Submitted by gracenote, 6/12/2011.
+ Not really an apt comparison. In the episode, Rohan doesn't want to prevent Klee from drilling for oil. Once he sells his land to Klee, Rohan wants Klee to drill for the oil immediately so he can make a fortune and pay the bills for everything he has improvidently already purchased. Klee, caring not one whit about Rohan's spending spree, chooses not to drill for the foreseeable future so he can make an even bigger fortune later on. Not an environmentalist in the bunch. Submitted by BobH, 28 December 2015.
++ Slight correction: Rohan didn't sell his land, he sold the mineral rights then mortgaged his land. jfh 20Jul2017.
+++ It's not a "slight" correction, it's an enormous difference: the whole plot is driven by the dilemma that without drilling, there are no royalty payments. If the land had simply been sold, unless the purchase payments were tied to the recovery - which might make sense from the POV of the buyer, but none to the seller - there's no story. Notcom 100521.
++++Geez. Several blunders on my part on the same comments page. (See also immediately below regarding the difference between shotguns and rifles.) Thank goodness I haven't run into a louse like Jerome Klee in my life or I'd have really been taken to the cleaners. Submitted with false humility by BobH, 5 October 2021.

At the beginning of the episode, Allan Winford and his co-worker Dick Yates display remarkable composure as Jason Rohan's two "warning" shotgun blasts come perilously close to their heads and hit the trailer immediately behind them. Jerome Klee was lucky--if only temporarily -- that Winford did not display the same nonchalance later on in the episode as someone takes a potshot at Klee. Submitted by BobH, 1 July 2016.
+ Those had to be rifle shots as a shotgun would show many punctures in the side of the trailer. Also, most people who would have been shot at in that circumstance would have dropped down and hid under or behind that trailer. Submitted by HamBurger, 8/23/2020

Perry is appalled by the "ruthless, vicious" character traits of his client, Jerome Klee. Supposedly a good judge of character, Perry never saw this in his client before? Perhaps he needed the $50,000 annual retainer (worth $360,000 today) to pay for all the indigent clients he defended.
Musings by Bill-W2XOY on 08/26/13.
+ Episode 261/266 Parallels: TCOT Scarlet Scandal & Unwelcome Well featured High-Powered clients, High-Priced Lobbyists and Returned Retainers that Perry gave up on Principled ETHICS. Mike Bedard 3.6.15.
++ I'm guessing that Perry had not met Klee in person before the night of the party. It's entirely possible their relationship had been just recently arranged over the phone. Klee would certainly have met Della if he had been to the office, yet Perry had to introduce her to Klee at the party. OLEF641 10/5/21
+++ Perry is also a remarkably bad judge of character in anticipating - or really failing to anticipate- how Ronan will react to the (presumed) windfall. Granted the transformation is so sudden and complete we should probably fault the scriptwriters more, but he has seen all too well the corrupting power of money....and what became of the shrewdness he showed in TCOT Irate Inventor, where he escaped an "unescapable" clause? Maybe TCOT Lazy Lawyer would have been a better title for this episode! Notcom 100521.

My jaw hit the floor at the sight of Della rocking her "little black dress." I've never seen her looking sexier. Submitted by DellaFan, 2/26/2014.

Della’s entire wardrobe for this episode is especially attractive. I also like that suit with the frogging she wears in court. DOD 05/07/20

Bad Accent Dept. You'd think that with a name like Edmund Hashim, the actor playing an Arab prince in this episode would have a passable, appropriate accent, but American-born Hashim defaults to that vague Transylvanian lilt so popular in '60s TV. Submitted by francis, 5/2/14.
+ But not for want of practice: the Massachusetts-born actor was subjected to the usual range of "ethnic" roles in the 50-60's - including Arabs - despite being from the Northeast...rather than the Mideast. (And his untimely death - at age 42 - has so little information available that perhaps Paul Drake should look into it). Notcom, 081919.

Jason Ronan (Paul Brinegar) tells Perry, on a visit to his home, the he and his wife enjoy watching westerns on their new TV. Makes you wonder if he ever happened to catch an episode of "Rawhide"? Submitted by PaulDrake 33. 13 March 2015.

No doubt they saw a lot of James Best who appeared on just about every Western of the time, including “Bonanza”, “Death Valley Days”, “Gunsmoke”, “Have Gun - Will Travel”, etc. DOD 05/07/20

Police Science: Moulage Casts of vehicle tracks were taken at the crime scene; The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook describes an 8-Step Process: Photograph, Mix, Pour, Reinforce, Identify, Remove, Clean, Finish ("Tire Marks," page 51). Mike Bedard 4.1.15
+ The moulage shown in court does not match the tire track on the ground. In addition, both are awful skinny for a pickup truck. Looks like no more than 6 inch tread width. Submitted by Kilo 2/11/2018.

The coin actually looks more like it was from Asia like Chinese rather than in the middle east. Submitted by Perry Baby 2/4/17
+ I think it looks more Byzantine, especially with what looks like a chalice. DOD 05/07/20

"Retirement Fund for the Old Retainer" - Mirabel's payoff from Klee, $25,000, would be just over $210,000.00 in 2021 money, or nearly $1700 per year for ten years, to quote her. OLEF641 10/5/21

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