#46: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 11/08/58
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Perry doesn't want to get involved in a family dispute when a childhood friend, Eileen Harrison, seeks a divorce from her husband, Danny. Perry feels differently about defending Danny, though, when the man is framed for murder.
+The dispute revolves around Danny's commitment to Teaching -- his "Noble Calling" -- which doesn't pay enough to support his family. Mike Bedard 6.3.16 MeTV viewing.
Sadly, Even today teachers moonlight and take summer jobs summer jobs still holds true today. mikemcs1 7/2019
Directed by Arthur Marks
Teleplay by Stanley Niss and Gene Wang
Story by Stanley Niss
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
Arthur Franz as Danny Harrison
Jesse White as Luke Hickey
Anne Sargent as Eileen Harrison
Stacy Harris as Frank Curran
Frances Helm as Linda Kennedy
Douglas Evans as Phil McCabe
Tom Palmer as George Palmer
Richard Gaines as Judge Carwell
Olan Soule as Court Clerk
Fern Barry as Mrs. Cunningham
Carol Anderson as The Model
Gene Wang | Story Consultant
Production Supervisor … J. Paul Popkin
Story Editor … Alice Young
Director of Photography … Frank Redman, A.S.C.
Assistant Producer … Robert Wechsler
Art Direction … Lyle Wheeler, Lewis Creber
Assistant Director … Robert G. Stone
Editorial Supervisor … Art Seid, A.C.E.
Film Editor … Otto W. Meyer, A.C.E.
Casting … Marvin Schnall, Harvey Clermont
Makeup … Richard Hamilton
Hair Stylist … Annabell, S.C.H.
Wardrobe Supervision … Dick James
Set Decoration … Walter M. Scott, Charles Q. Vassar
Properties … Ray Thompson
Sound Editor … Gene Eliot, M.P.S.E.
Production Sound Mixer … Robert O'Brien
Script Supervision … William E. Orr
This has bee a CBS Television Network Production
Filmed in Hollywood by TCF Television Productions, Inc.
CARS: 1955 Plymouth 2dr sedan; 1958 DeSoto 2dr hardtop, white & medium color; 1958 Chevrolet Delray 4dr sedan, black & white (Police); 1958 Plymouth 4dr sedan POLICE black & white, (Exempt) Lic No E 313; 1958 Chrysler 300D Convertible (see 300 "letter series"), medium color, white interior, top down, Lic No PBU 883. Cameo: 1958 Dodge 2dr hardtop, dark color; 1951 Dodge Wayfarer 2Door Sedan, light color, Lic No JRP 672. From The Cars by Greg Cockerill.
Irony. The opening scene shows two appliance store employees repossessing a washing machine. One of the main actors in this episode is Jesse White, for years the lonely Maytag washer repairman. Submitted by PaulDrake33.
* And that is the BIGGEST washing machine I've ever seen for a home! It looks more like a coin-op machine! Submitted by MikeReese, 12/20/2020.
+ Jesse White portrays the short-order cook/owner at the diner at which Danny is moonlighting. cgraul 4.3.12
++ JW has 175 IMDb Actor credits, including 5 Perrys from 1958-65. Mike Bedard 6.1.16.
The above appliance store truck bears a sign identifying the firm as Walsh’s Appliances (“Your Credit is Good!”) and gives the telephone number WEbster 12499. This phone number is used in the very next episode (“TCOT Jilted Jockey”) for the home number of gambler/murder victim Johnny Starr. Submitted by FredK October 25, 2009.
Uncredited Actors: One of the Walsh’s Appliance men reposessing the washer is the ubiquitous Don Anderson. Later in the episode he appears again as a courtroom spectator on the last row behind the defense. As the trial goes on, he moves closer to the front. Submitted by FredK 2 October 2010.
+ Read more about Anderson and other uncredited actors. Added by gracep, 10/3/2010.
++ Lee Miller shows up as Sgt. Brice. We also see him sitting in the courtroom gallery (but it still could be his Sgt. Brice character). Submitted by gracep 11/15/2010.
Sightings: In the courtroom (either as spectators or jurors), we find joining Anderson (above) a plethora of favorite frequent faces: Little Old Lady #1, Distinguished Gentlemen #1 & #2, Distinguished Ladies #1 & #2, and “Miss Carmody”! Can you spot them? Submitted by gracep, 11/15/2010.
+ Also joining the group in court is the Distinguished Lady #4 (Perry's side) and Little Old Lady #2 in the Jury. submitted by BigBill767, 12/9/16.
++ Miss Carmody transports from one side of the court to the other, depending where the camera is for the shot. Perhaps all the extras did that, to avoid needing people who weren't in shot. Additionally, this is the first episode where we get good, clear shots of her. Submitted by Clothears 27-Jan-2021.
Syndicated cuts: First scene at the cafe with a customer paying his bill and Luke telling Danny he may not be able to employ him for long; scene at Danny's house with the police arriving, informing him of the murder and Danny's arrest; the police questioning Hickey before Mason arrives; Burger's first examination of Lt. Tragg. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 7/23/12.
While Tragg is looking for the secret compartment in Curran's car, a police radio is heard. Station A mistakenly calls Unit 7, then corrects it to Unit 3. Unit 3, however, never responds as is soon announced. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 8/25/13.
+ There is similar but not identical police radio chatter in TCOT Gilded Lily when Tragg is looking for something that may have been hidden in his car. Submitted by Duffy, 10 May 2014.
While Mason is questioning Luke the level of coffee in Perry's cup changes. There is more in his cup after he takes a sip then before (close-up). Then the level goes back down without taking another drink (long shot). Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 8/25/13.
When the courtroom scenes begin the camera is on the left side of the courtroom, possibly to show off the seldom-seen jury. After a commercial break the camera is on the usual right side and the jury is never seen again. Submitte by Wiseguy70005, 8/25/13.
When Linda Kennedy approaches the stand Tragg reaches over to stop the gate from swinging. Whether this was in the script is unknown. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 8/25/13.
Good catch, Wiseguy70005. It appears (to me, at least) that Tragg ad-libbed the move. Otto Gervaert, 8/2/21.
Frances Helm who played Linda Kennedy in this one, was first married to Brian Keith. They subsequently divorced after 6 1/2 years and on the same day they divorced (06/23/1954), Brian Keith married his 2nd wife Judith Landon. WOW! Submitted by mesave31, 05/07/15.
I believe this is the second episode so far (the first was #29) where Perry pulls his "suppose I told you..." trick on a witness, in this case Luke Hickey. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 5-10-2014.
Murder site: According to a sign in the parking lot Frank Curran was killed in apartment 503 of the Mandrake Arms. In episode 8 TCOT Crimson Kiss Carver L. Clement aka Philip Walsh was killed in apartment 702 of the same building. In the earlier story the Mandrake Arms was a security building that required a key for entry. Frank left his keys in his car. Did Danny ring bells until he was buzzed-in or did he go in as somebody entered or left? Submitted by H. Mason 10/13/14
Repeat location: Luke tried to hide from the police at the Baldwin Motel. In episode 14 TCOT Baited Hook Bob Dawson and Carol Leeds aka Carol Stanley were apprehended in the parking lot of that business. Submitted by H. Mason 10/13/14
Recycled newspaper: The newspaper held by Mrs. Cunningham as she discovered the body in apartment 503 came from episode 41 TCOT Lucky Loser. Submitted by H. Mason 10/13/14
This is the only PM appearance by Anne Sargent...MikeM. 9/9/2016
This is the second of six PM appearances for Olan Soule. One of his many show business roles was as the voice of the animated Batman...MikeM. 9/9/2016
This is the second of three PM appearances for Carol Anderson, all of them portraying models...MikeM. 6/21/2018
Chili Size: At Luke's cafe there is a sign advertising "Chili Size" for 45 cents. Frank orders chili, which Luke serves in a chili bowl. Frank throws down the bowl, and Luke charges him 40 cents for the chili, plus 65 cents for the broken bowl.
So what is "Chili Size"? Only Californians will know the answer ... and rather than spoil it, I offer this web-link, where you can read all about Ptomaine Tommy de Forest and the fascinating origin of -- "The Chili Size: A Los Angeles Original" by Ed Simon. Submitted by catyron, December 19th, 2020.
Gavel Tally - After Palmer admits to losing ". . a few dollars." -- $1400 (over $13,000 in 2022) -- the judge gavels the resultant hubbub in the gallery to silence. OLEF641 1/10/22
This show has one of my favorite postscripts, soft humor between the three leads. It begins with Della pretending exasperation and emphatic patience with Paul and ends with Paul on the short end of a Perry bit. cgraul 4.3.12
If it was so necessary to interrupt Hickey's testimony so Lt. Tragg can testify and go to headquarters where he is needed, then why does Tragg sit at the prosecutor's table after his testimony while Hickey is called back? Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 7/23/12.
Did I hear correctly? Eileen was the first female to propose marriage to Perry? When they were children? At a farm in Oregon? Perry turned her down? Submitted by MikeM, 10/22/2012
+ Raymond Burr worked as a forest ranger in Oregon & fought fires there, as noted by Governor Mark Hatfield during RB's Person to Person interview [PM 50th Anniversary DVD]. Mike B. 6.3.16.
Another female in the case, Linda, has also been asking a man to marry her. And also has been turned down. Submitted by MikeM, 10/22/2012
We never do find out why Linda has been pursuing a man she says she loathes. DOD 07/04/19
+ It is rather implied why Linda wants to marry Frank. Given the hurried nature of why she wanted to speak to him that night. Why her business partner said she couldn't because of his condition. The fact she did marry her business partner just after not being able to see him. And when Perry purposely stops short of asking that direct question again once she says she "loathes him". Submitted by Kenmore 10/21/2020
+ OK, call me dense, but I still don't see why she wants to marry a man she hates that much. OLEF641 12/1/2020
I find the oft-quoted book The Perry Mason TV Show Book by Brian Kelleher and Diana Merrill to be rather amateurishly written, more on the fanatic side than fan ("by two of his greatest fans" says the cover). Rather than a serious look at the series it is more of a "every episode is the best, all the actors should have received an Emmy® for every episode" type of book. The attitude toward the New Perry Mason series ("The less said about this bomb, the better") starring Monte Markham ("journeyman actor") is especially childish. None of this explains the inaccurate episode summaries many of which have been corrected here. In this episode, it is stated that Danny is framed. Who framed him? Even the murderer stated that having Danny arrested was not intended. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 8/25/13.
+ For the most part, I agree with Wiseguy70005. However, we must consider that the book was written in 1987, 26 years ago. At that time, the only way to see the show was to hope that a local station was showing the syndicated (often cut) reruns, and maybe videotape them yourself. The series was not available via VHS tape. There was no online IMDB or Wikipedia to give us info on the series. I remember when the book came out. I immediately ordered it. With all it's flaws, the book, at that time, was the most complete source of information on the show. I had my copy for many, many years, and enjoyed reading, and rereading it. Submitted, with fond memory, by Bill-W2XOY on 08/25/2013.
++ My dog-eared copy of the book has earned a well deserved retirement on my bookshelf; I agree it was better than nothing in the "good old days." Submitted by francis, 06/01/14
Re: the "Perry Mason TV Show Book", here is another oddity to ponder. In the book, there is a picture of Raymond Burr from the "Kingston Confidential" series with actress Dina Merrill. The co-author of the book is Diana Merrill. Any relation? Question by Bill-W2XOY on 08/25/13..
Plot Hole? Why was Frank Curran drunk when he walked in Luke Hickey's "choke 'n puke" restaurant? He was the big winner at the poker game--presumably he wasn't drunk then-- and he went from the poker game to the restaurant. So why was he drunk? It makes no sense other than as a plot device to implicate Danny Harrison. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 5/10/2014.
+ Perhaps alcohol was consumed at the poker game. jfh 17Jul2020
A Sign of the Times? This episode answers a question I have long had. There are several episodes of Perry Mason, including this one, where someone--usually Perry, Paul, or Tragg--learned someone's name and address from the vehicle registration displayed in their car. Usually the car was a convertible (popular in southern California) and the registration was typically on the steering wheel post or on the sun visor. The question I had was whether the law at the time required the registration to be so displayed. In this episode Perry, during his questioning of a witness about a car, says the law required the registration to be in the car, and that it was probably on the steering post. From a privacy and security standpoint this is a terrible thing to do, since, if the car is a convertible with the top down, anyone outside the car could learn the owner's name and home address by looking at the registration. In this episode it had tragic consequences for the murder victim, who was tracked down by the murderer who saw the registration in the victim's convertible. I don't know what the law is now, but I would be surprised if it still required the registration to be displayed in this manner. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 5-12-2014.
+ I also don't know what the law is now, but the current law was also featured a year or so later in the novel The Case of the Waylaid Wolf, chapter 14, where Perry says to Della: "Get the license number of the car that (Officer) Peter Lyons tagged for double parking. Then get Paul to start his men running down the registration of that car, or it probably will be on the traffic ticket itself since the officer would take the owner's name from the Certificate of Registration which the law requires to be either on the steering post or on some portion of the automobile that is clearly visible." Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 7/16/14.
+ I was a child in the 1950s and my parents 1953 Buick had the car registration in a plastic case wrapped around the steering column. So if it wasn’t legally required it seemed fairly common place. mikemcs1 7/2019
++ I am old enough to remember that, yes, California required that the car's registration slip be visible and readable from the outside. They used to sell holders for the form that were sort of like a luggage tag, made of cheap leatherette with a plastic window and a couple of metal springs that could be stretched around the steering column to hold it in place. I don't know when this was changed, but my best guess is some time in the '80's. OLEF641 11/22/2020
++ Until 1967, California law indeed required the registration to be visible from the outside, generally to make it easier for law enforcement to identify a vehicle's owner quickly, especially in the days before radio or phone communication with headquarters was commonplace. After years of complaints by citizens concerned about break-ins of their houses and by single women, the law was changed (I found a newspaper article):
Why did Tragg want to know about Harrison's gun? Our victim was not shot. DOD 0407/04/19
+ Because Harrison had pawned it the day before. Though that seems to have nothing to do with anything. But that's why Tragg asked. OLEF641 12/1/2020
I do not know which episode was filmed first (the prior episode TCO the Buried Clock or this) but the cabin interior wood panels from the prior episode are identical to interior panels in Luke's cafe. I assume they were just reusing sets. Submitted by Perry Baby 1/15/15.
Translation: "Cherchez la femme" means "look for the woman". It's a phrase used when a man has troubles the source is usually a woman. see http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/cherchez-la-femme.html Submitted by Kilo 6/15/2017.
Curran had 2 $500 bills in his pocket after the poker game? Wouldn't he be using smaller bills for a poker game? But, of course, the plot required those unique bills. In several PM episodes, characters have $500 bills ($500 in 1955 is worth about $4,000 today. Who walks around with that much cash?)--yelocab 15NOV18
+ To expand on that, the $1400 that Palmer lost in the game is the equivalent of just over $12,500 in 2020 money; no wonder the courtroom spectators gasp. OLEF641 12/1/2020
Killed by the "Maytag Repairman". Who would have thought? Submitted by HamBurger, 10/7/2017
How did Perry know that the wrong key was in the ignition, and that Tragg couldn't start it? Were ignition/trunk keys -that- similar that they could both be inserted? If it was a guess, Perry would have had a 50/50 chance of being right. --yelocab 15NOV18
+ Yes, on cars of that era the key to the ignition and trunk were on the same blank but were cut different. The heads of the keys were of different shapes, at least on my '66 Chevelle, one having a round head and the other an octagonal one -- I can't remember which was for which. I can recall having occasionally, when not paying attention, stuck the wrong key in the ignition. BTW -- the ignition switch also opened the doors and, I believe, the trunk key locked and unlocked the glove compartment. OLEF641 11/22/2020
++ I recall my family's 1967 Plymouth 'Barracuda' had a pentagonal ignition/door key, and a round trunk key; so based on this (admittedly small) sampling, and assuming you had the same, it would appear the trunk keys were round-headed. (It would certainly make sense: the different shapes could be clearly distinguished in the dark, and commonality b/w makes would be easier for car owners...not that companies would necessarily want to make it easy to drive another brand, of course !!) Notcom, 112320.