#51: The Case of the
Original Airdate: 01/03/59
From The Perry Mason TV Show Book
Sarah Werner (played by the eminent Osa Massen, in one of her several Mason appearances) comes to Perry crying poverty. She begs him to find her husband, Hugo Werner, who ran off with her inheritance. Leave it to Della to wonder out loud why such a poor woman would be wearing "Eternity," a perfume costing $150 an ounce.
correction: $150 for half an ounce
Meanwhile, Hugo Werner, alias Hans Breel, is working on a gem scam. But Hugo’s scheme backfires when he is murdered, and wife Sarah is charged with the crime.
Starring Raymond Burr
in The Case of THE SHATTERED DREAM
Based upon characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins
Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
Written by Robert Bloomfield and Seeleg Lester
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
Osa Massen as Sarah Werner
Marion Marshall as Irene Bedford
Virginia Vincent as Virginia Trent
Kurt Kreuger as Hans Breel
Chris Alcaide as Jerry Morrow
Ludwig Stossel as Adolph Van Beers
Ivan Triesault as Fred Schoenbeck
Theodore Marcuse as William Walker
Lillian Bronson as Judge
Robert Carson as Lawrence David
Gil W. Rankin as Autopsy Surgeon
Cy Malis as Hilton
Barry Brooks as Dealer
Brandy Bryan as Doris
Gene Wang | Story Consultant
Production Supervisor … J. Paul Popkin
Story Editor … Alice Young
Director of Photography … Frank Redman, A.S.C.
Art Direction …
- Lyle Wheeler
- Lewis Creber
Editorial Supervision … Art Seid, A.C.E.
Film Editor … Otto W. Meyer, A.C.E.
Assistant Director … Robert G. Stone
- 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
Filmed in Hollywood by TCF Television Productions, Inc.
A CBS Television Network Production
CARS: 1958 Ford Thunderbird convertible, black, top down (Drake), 1958 Ford Skyliner retractable, black, top up (Mason), Cameo: 1958 Edsel 4dr hardtop. From The Cars by Greg Cockerill.
As she did in episode 40 and 41, Della wears her pendant with the initials D.S. in script. Submitted by PaulDrake 33.
In the opening scene, Hans Breel drives a sports car up in front of an apartment building. When he applies the brakes, the front tag of his car has been attached so poorly that it almost comes off. The front tag, DHR 786 is the same tag that is on Carl Reynolds’ Pontiac in episode 44, TCOT Curious Bride. Submitted by PaulDrake 33.
+ Here's the scene at about 59 seconds, just before Breel comes to a stop; at 01:23, Breel enters the building. You will see the loose plate shake just after 00:59. Here's a later shot (13:32) of Breel's très élégant 1958 Simca Aronde Océane with promiscuous plate# DHR 786. That's the 1958 Edsel Citation 4-Door HardTop (from "CARS", above) beyond Breel's Simca. Looking through the Edsel's interior, it's Paul's black 1958 Thunderbird Convertible, white top up, with Sarah Werner and Paul inside, staking-out the location.
++ Here's a color photo of a '58 Aronde Océane. Those are SIMCA hubcaps, not Studebakers! Aronde Sports cars (60HP/90mph) were roughly equivalent in price & performance to the contemporary Triumph TR3, MGA and Alfa Romeo Giulietta. See Comments section for more on Breel's car, Simca and the Aronde line. Simcas appear again in Episodes 107 & 190. Added by Gary Woloski, 3/8/14.
+++ That license plate DHR 786 first appeared on Harriet Bain's car in episode 21 TCOT Green-Eyed Sister. Added by H. Mason 10/15/14
Location: Episode opens looking down Vine street toward the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. Capital Records famous circular “stack of records” building is visible on the left. Submitted by Eric Cooper, 9 December 2010.
+Also visible, the Broadway Hollywood, to the right (electric sign reads "The Broadway") and the Taft Building, to the left (sign reads Taft Bldg.) The other visible electric vertical sign is for American Airlines. Old Dave/ 7/28/2020
Location: About 4:45 into the episode there is a quick shot of the classic clothing store Mullen Bluett at 5570 Wilshire near Ridgeley. Preservationists tried to save this building just east of the La Brea Tar Pits, but sadly it was demolished about 2004. Submitted by Eric Cooper, 9 December 2010.
+ That was a good-looking building. Submitted by DyNama, 9/1/2014
++ Although peripheral - at best! - to the episode, MB serves as a microcosm of life in Southern California in the 20th Century. Founded in the 1880's, by the 1920's it occupied a large store on Broadway. It then constructed a number of branches - a Tudor style in Hollywood and Churrigueresque in Pasadena (an eclectic mix, as is common in LA); the branches didn't survive the Depression - and sadly neither of the buildings has survived either - and when the firm expanded again after WWII, it was in modern buildings in decentralized settings. Notcom. 120820.
Sightings: Sitting behind Perry Mason at the hearing is Little Old Lady #2, and two rows behind her, Quiet Old Man #1. We find “Miss Carmody” in the gallery, too. After lunch, Little Old Lady #1 shows up (in a cutaway to Morrow and Schoenbeck), and so does Distinguished Gentleman #1. Submitted by g, 30 January 2011.
An unusual example of correct grammar is heard when Lawrence David identifies the defendant by saying "That's she." Most writers would have written (and most people would have said) "That's her." Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 10/13/13.
+ Maybe Diamond dealer David's mother was an English teacher. My parents were teachers, and when I was a child, much of our dinner table entertainment involved correcting other people's grammar. JohnK, 24 August 2022
Incorrect Show Summary: Della actually said the perfume cost $150 a half ounce. Submitted by Duffy, 5-15-2014.
+ In 2017, about $1200. OLEF641, 10/7/2017.
Character names: In court we learned that Hans Breel aka Hugo Werner also used the names Piet Hofer and Piet Verlan (which was probably his real name). Submitted by H. Mason 10/16/14
This is the second of four PM writing credits for Robert Bloomfield...MikeM. 9/16/2016
This is the first of two PM appearances for Marion Marshall (Irene Bedford). Marion Marshall has been married and divorced three times. Her second husband was director Stanley Donen. Her third husband was actor Robert Wagner. Wikipedia says that Marion Marshall is now 89 years old...MikeM. 6/28/2018
Set Decoration Goof: When Beers first sits down at his baench, there is a diagram of the Pundit's Dream "Right Side" on the wall -- and the rest of the wall is blank. But ... the diamond has not yet been purchased by Hands and is not yet in the Trent workrshop! Later, when the first cleavage is to take place, the various views of the diamond -- Right, Left, Top, Bottom, and so forth -- are all on the wall and are discussed by Breel, Beers, Davis et al. That first "Right View" hanging on the wall was a rather big error, in my opinion. Submitted by catyron, December 24, 2020
This is the only episode I recall - including the books - in which Paul Drake offers to pick up the restaurant tab! cgraul 4.10.12
+ Actually, he doesn't! The waitress approaches the table and says she knows they are in a hurry, so she brought their beverages ... Della takes the tea, and Perry says the coffee is his. Paul points at Perry and adds, "And, uh, also the check!" Perry gives him a wry look! Submitted by karmatist, 6.21.13.
That wall paneling with the oval medallions appeared recently in both Perjured Parrot and Fancy Figures. When Paul brings Sarah to Perry’s place at 4 am, Perry comes through a door that, in other shows, led to his kitchen. Osa Massen appears in the 1946 film “Deadline at Dawn” with a husky young Bill Williams, future husband of Barbara Hale. In the office scene with Jerry Morrow, the curtains are closed for the only time I can recall. DOD 07/11/19
The Case of the Phony Photo: The season's first fraudulent photo appears in this episode, not in Episode #55. Sarah Werner shows up at Mason's office with a photograph of her husband and little daughter. The photo shows a smiling Hugo Werner--a.k.a. Hans Breel--with an obviously superimposed and miniaturized 2 or 3 year old girl ostensibly sitting on his lap. Rather than displaying understandable suspicion about this photographic flim-flam, Perry takes her case. Submitted by BobH, 12 June 2016.
Listen closely to the scene in Perry’s office where Paul reads from his notebook and refers to a woman named Bedford. What is her first name? Some will say it’s not the name of the character but the name of the actress that plays her. Submitted by Mitch English, 10/9/04.
+ When I checked this, I heard the character name but, when I listened again later, I was shocked to hear the actress’s name. On listening yet again, the character name returned. It was really quite weird! Submitted by daveb, date unknown.
++ I listened very carefully to the scene described by daveb above (syndication print). Both times I distinctly heard “Irene” (the character’s name) and not “Marion” (the actress’s name). Paul Drake does preface the name with an "Ah...". Submitted by gracep 8/9/2010.
+++ This could be an age related thing. Being older than dirt, even in 2004, I have noticed some change in the perception of the speech. Submitted by daveb, 5/4/11.
Maybe I was conditioned by reading the messages above, but I heard Paul say "Marion Bedford" in Perry's office. I heard this on the Hallmark Movie Channel. Submitted by MikeM, 10/25/2012
+ He does say "Irene," the character's name, but he says it with a cigarette in his mouth which may make it harder to understand what he said. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 10/13/13.
++ Nope, he does say Marion. I rewound my DVD copy several times and both my wife and I agree that is what he said. Cigarette or no cigarette. Submitted by HamBurger, 10/9/2017
+++ He did say Irene, but, he pronounced it like Arion, 3 syllables. It was slightly slurred because of the cigarette in his mouth, but it definitely was not Marion. However he might have forgotten the name halfway through, and started saying "Ah" and finished it like Marion without the M. 02/15/18
++++ My ears hear "Her name's .. ah (as he opens his notebook) .. Irene Bedford (once he finds his note about her in the book)." IMHO OLEF641 12/8/2020 The music in the scene leading to and including the discovery of the murder sounds like a variation of Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn". Joe B.01/25/22
Here's a Comparison of the sports cars mentioned in the "Hans Breel" Trivia entry giving US price (Port of Entry), engine size, horsepower & top speed. All are 2-seat roadsters ("convertibles"):
- 1957 Simca Aronde Océane - $2888, 1.2ℓ, 60HP, 90mph. 1958 estimate $3000.
- 1958 Triumph TR3 - $2675, 2.0ℓ, 100HP, 102mph. Seen in Ep#s 27,106,146,209.
- 1958 MGA - $2462, 1.5ℓ, 72HP, 93mph.
- 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider - $3298, 1.3ℓ, 80HP, 96mph (Spider=conv). Ep#83.
- 1958 Austin-Healey 100-6 - $3389, 2.6ℓ (161cid), 117HP, 104mph. Ep#s 16, 111.
There were U.S. regular-production equivalents to these relatively inexpensive, small & nimble European 2-seater sports cars. American cars were heavier & higher-powered with soft suspensions and vague steering. The nearest to the Euro sports cars in some characteristics were perhaps:
- 1957 Thunderbird (2-seater) - $3408 with 6-cylinder 223cid (3.7ℓ) 144HP engine.
- 1958 Corvette (2-seater)- $3631, 283cid V8 (4.6ℓ), 230HP.
- 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Convertible (6-seater) $2841, 283cid V8(4.6ℓ), 185HP.
Eurocar data:Flamming, US cars :Kowalke (ed). TBird & 'Vette prices are for baseline engine. Impala is upgraded from 6-cyl to V8 to approximate price of the Simca. 1957 TBird is used here because in 1958 the car became a full-sized 4-seater. Added by Gary Woloski, 4/14/14.
. SIMCA was a French car maker founded in 1934 to manufacture Fiat-designed cars under licence in France (logo is a stylized swallow). Starting with its new Aronde line in 1951, Simca began to manufacture cars of its own design (Aronde gallery here). Simcas were exported to the U.S.A. from 1948 to 1971. Initially, sales were through distributors and dealers * arranged by the "U.S. Representative of Simca" (SIMCA, INC), based in New York City. In April 1956, the President of SIMCA INC, A.M. Dolza, said: "all Simca cars marketed in the United States last year were sold in California. They totaled 226." § A Witkin-Wolf Simca advertisement on page 20 of the Apr-May 1956 issue of West Coast Sports Car Journal gives a list of western-US dealers and Simca prices for 1956.
In 1958 Chrysler, wanting to acquire a small car supplier and an entrance to the international market, began buying shares of Simca (France). At that time Chrysler also took over the marketing of Simca in the US, Canada and elsewhere. Chrysler dealers sold 7,280 Simcas in the US in 1958. This jumped to 55,256 in 1959 but steadily declined thereafter (competition from VW, etc?). See Charles K. Hyde, Riding the Roller Coaster: A History of the Chrysler Corporation, pp198-9. By 1970 Chrysler owned 99.3% of Simca and changed the French company's corporate name to Chrysler France. However, "fewer than 3,000 Simcas" sold in the US during the first half of 1971 and Chrysler ceased Simca imports into USA in June of that year. From 1975 to 1978, Chrysler had a severe sales & financial crisis of its own. Needing capital to maintain its domestic operations, Chrysler sold its European holdings, including Simca, to Peugeot in 1978. This was the effective end of the Simca brand. Elements of the last Simca-designed car, the Horizon, lived on until 1990 in the Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon; see the "Omnirizon" design story.
All printed and on-line histories of Simca that I've found are very hard-to-follow, probably because the "real story" itself is quite convoluted. The least confusing account is at Wikipedia. A detailed history at allpar.com seems to indicate that the last "SIMCA" badge went on the rear-end of a Talbot-Simca 1100 in June 1980 (the front end of the car had a "TALBOT" badge on it!). Added by Gary Woloski, 4/25/14.
* The presumeably-new cars parked on the street in front of GATEWAY MOTORS are 1955-1958 Simca Aronde 1300's. The Year-ID is based on the taillights; it would be easier and more precise if the "calandre caractéristique en forme de moustache chromée" were visible (the chromed-moustache grill changed slightly each year). But the dealer's "4 DOOR SEDAN" for "$1595 POE" narrows it down: $1595 POE agrees with the 1957 Model-year base price given by Flamming, p735. This image could be of the same cars at the Port Of Entry (P.O.E.). GSW 4/28/14.
"Simca Hopes to Sell 3,000 Cars in State", Oxnard Press-Courier, April 9 1956, page 14. GSW 4/30/14.
§From all sources I have found, including the Standard Catalog page 735, US annual sales up to the peak were: 1951 - 50; 1952 - 46; 1953 - 27; 1955 - 226; 1957 - 5,766; 1958 - 7,280; 1959 - 55,256. GSW 6/16/14.
When Hans Breel is playing poker, he holds his cards so far away from his body that I suspect the two guys he's sitting between can see them. No wonder he keeps losing.
This is the fourth episode in a row where the murder victim is the husband in a bad marriage. In two of those episodes the wife was charged with the murder. Submitted by Duffy, 5-15-2014.
Throughout this episode we see various people handling the Pundit's Dream as if it were nothing more than a worthless rock. I don't know anything about diamonds or diamond cutting, but I find it hard to believe that in real life such a potentially valuable uncut diamond would be handled in this manner. Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 16 May 2014.
In addition, the workbench (just bolted wood), the hammer, cleaving device, etc. used to cleave the diamond looked like something from an old garage. Submitted by Perry Baby 2/8/15
+ OK, it's teevee, and everyone needs to be in the shot, but at the moment of truth when Adolph is swinging the mallet, you would think they would all back up and give the poor old guy some room to work. JohnK, 24 August 2022
Tough guy: Seemed a little odd that Walker's muscleman Jerry Morrow was wearing (what appeared to be) a wedding ring. Submitted by H. Mason 10/15/14
"Autopsy" [Surgeon]: "mid 17th century (in the sense 'personal observation') from French autopsie or Modern Latin autopsia, from Greek, autoptes 'eyewitness,' from autos 'self' + optos 'seen' [Google etymology search, 1st hit]. Mike Bedard 3.12.15.
And??? Mention is made in both the the summary and comment section - "Direct" and "Cross", if you will - of Della IDing Sarah's tres chere perfume, but nothing comes of it (other than the rather unneeded pointing out of Dells'a many talents): one wonders if the writers originally had some surprise plot development in mind that was omitted. Wondered by Notcom, 100717.
+ When Perry and Paul find Breel's body in his apartment they both sniff the air and Perry says "I smell that, too. It's called Eternity. Sarah Werner uses it." Kilo 10/14/2019.
> Correct. What I was really getting at, tho, is that nothing ever comes from the fact that it's expensive. Of course it's possible that the real goal was to have it noticed later, and in order to do so there had to be a rationale for noticing it in the first place (although in today's airing the latter part of Della's comment was actually deleted, making her comment seem idle.) Notcom, 072520.
Courtroom door - first step is a doozy In this episode the courtroom configuration is a different with the door on the Prosecution side rather than the center rear. This configuration makes it difficult for the crowd to enter or exit. If you noticed there are two large windows on the same wall adjacent to the courtroom door meaning this is not a realistic configuration. It is not likely the hallway has such a jog in the building. Submitted by Perry Baby 12/17/17.
Most despicable victim ever? Hans Werner is just a horrible person. There were other awful murder victims, but Werner is on screeen for a significant time, and it is all to be a horrific husband, father, and business partner. What other victim is close? Rick P. 11/1/21
It would seem to me that after the trial, the ownership of the diamond, Pundit’s Dream, would be cloudy. Since Hans Breel had possession of it when he was murdered, and his rightful heir, his wife, Sarah Werner took possession of it when she found him dead, she might feel that she has a claim on the diamond. Submitted by PaulDrake 33.
Good question - who finally owns the diamond? Irene had a sales contract with Hans for $15,000, but he never paid her. Adolph did pay her - but why, and how he even knew of the deal is a puzzle. Hans then tried to sell it to Virginia for $30,000, but only got half, and what he handed over was a fake. Did they have anything in writing? If not, perhaps she could argue he was paid in full and she has full ownership. Finally, Sarah took the diamond from Hans after finding him dead, which may have been OK if legally his wife, but is she? Sounds like there are a few wives in the background. Here's what I'm thinking - By her own testimony, Irene considered the diamond sold to Hans, no matter who actually paid. In the absence of any written agreement between Adolph and Hans, it would appear at that point Hans owns the diamond. Hans then agreed to sell the diamond to Virginia. Depending on the agreement, I would think at this point she owns at least half - it doesn't matter that what Hans gave her was a fake, her deal was for the Pundit's Dream. So the way I figure, Virginia owns at least half, if not all, and the other half would be to Hans legal wife. Adolph would seem to be out $15,000. DOD 07/11/19
For the sixth time in the first fifty-one episodes:
Submitted by 65tosspowertrap, 16 May 2014.
Questions: What happened to Sarah after the case? Was Adolph charged with any crimes for some of the things he did? Submitted by H. Mason 10/15/14
+ Is there an episode where Paul doesn't give us reason to wonder about his competence: here he instructs Sarah that she is not to attempt contact with Hans, but then proceeeds to tell her where he lives....uhhh! Notcom, 100717.