CARS: 1957 Ford Skyliner retractable, black, top down (Mason). Cameo: 1957 Mercury 4dr sedan. From The Cars by Greg Cockerill.
The front license plate on the car Perry and Della are in when they witness the overturned auto is: HGA 056; the car which stops and drives the Spanish-speaking woman away has a rear license plate: LJY 933...MikeM. 7/28/2016
The ad Perry places reads: IF THE "FAN DANCER" who lost certain property wishes to recover it, write P.O. Box #9052, L.A., Cal...MikeM. 7/28/2016
Perry makes the newspaper: Los Angeles Chronicle; City Edition; Final 9AM; MURDER SUSPECT APPREHENDED; LOIS FENTON CAUGHT ATTEMPTING ESCAPE IN LAWYER'S CAR; Attorney May Be Charged as Accomplice...MikeM. 7/28/2016
Phone Numbers: Perry’s office number, MA 5-1190, makes its second appearance. Perry gives the number to the hotel operator when he calls police headquarters from the detective’s room across the hall from the murder victim. It’s first used for Perry’s office in episode #17, TCOT Sun Bather’s Diary. Submitted by D. A. Supernaw, 6/30/05.
+ This is the appearance of what would be Mason’s phone number. The previous episode used MA 5-1199. Submitted by alan_sings 10/01/10.
++ When calling from room 510 of the Richmel Hotel, Perry uses the number MA 5-1190 to phone the police, so Paul Drake can report the murder. In the previous episode (TCOT Baited Hook), the very similar MA 5-1199 was used as the number of Tydings & Dawson. In later episodes, the phone number MA 5-1190 becomes Perry’s office number. Submitted by Charles Richmond 10/9/08. Edited by alan_sings 9 Oct 2010 and gracep 11/21/2010.
Perry gives the number 5-1190 to the hotel operator as the police phone number. Why the producers decided to later use the same phone number for Perry's office is a mystery. cgraul 6.7.12
+++ Nowadays the reserved prefix 555 - corresponding to KL5 during the exchange era - is typically used for the numbers displayed in movies or TV. In the 50's , tho, producers weren't so constricted - one might recall an amusing dialogue in the movie Desk Set involving the number COlumbus0-1492 - and here they apparently turned to reality: MAdison5 was an actual prefix used on the 9th Floor of 550 S Flower (The structure whose exterior served as the 'Brent Building'). Notcom, 052219.
The building next door to where Perry finds Shelton has "Carmody Fine Tailors" painted on the window. Perhaps Sasha Magaloff is employed by Miss Carmody. jfh 22May2019
Judy Tyler (Cherie Chi-Chi) never got to see her work in this episode. She died in a traffic accident on 4 July 1957 shortly after filming this episode. Submitted by PaulDrake33, 21 June 2008.
+ Miss Tyler, who started her career as Princess Summerfall Winterspring on the Howdy Doody Show, had been on Broadway and had made two films before filming this episode: Bop Girl Goes Calypso and Jailhouse Rock. Submitted by Francis, 10 June 2011.
This is the first of two Perry appearances by Susan Cummings, who died 03Dec2016. Her second appearance was in The Case Of The Lame Canary, 1959. jfh 10May2018.
Pilot or not? I believe this is the 2nd Perry Mason episode filmed. It has an early script date, 20 March 1957. Plus Perry drives a 1957 Ford and wears a hat, both characteristics of the first set of episodes filmed. As an aside, it also shows a characteristic Perry Mason driving habit: Zooming up to a car and pressing hard on the brakes causing quite a bit of subsequent oscillation (up/down). Perhaps what I assume to be “normal” driving doesn‘t film well? Submitted by billp. 29 November 2009.
+ In an interview on the 50th Anniversary Edition DVD, series producer Arthur Marks identified this episode as the pilot episode. Submitted by alan_sings 9 October 2010.
++ I think Mr. Marks may be an unreliable witness. In the same interview, he says the “pilot” was directed by Ted Post, but William D. Russell is credited as Director for this episode. Marks also says he was 2nd Assistant Director for the episode but he is credited as Assistant Director, his initial job after signing on for the series. Ted Post is credited as Director of #13, TCOT Moth-Eaten Mink. See that episode for more information. Submitted by daveb, 11/1/10.
+++ Could this be a “2nd Pilot,” then? Also this seeming confusion might bolster my hypothesis that this is the 2nd episode filmed. Submitted by billp, 12 November 2010.
++++ I agree this must be the first or second show filmed. The courtroom set is the same as in “Mink” and the bench still looks new. DOD 06/04/20
+++++It is not unheard of for a television show to have 2 pilots. Gene Roddenberry had to shoot two pilots before he could sell "Star Trek". Maybe there was something about the first PM pilot that needed tweaking before the show was a "Go". OLEF641 10/16/2020
Product Placement provides a date. In looking at the records at the "Vine Record Shop" I see a panel on the counter to the right of the front door with the text "latest release(?) - THE PEERLESS - MILES DAVIS - EXCLUSIVELY ON - COLUMBIA RECORDS" (DVD 29:14). The image on the panel is the front cover of Davis' LP 'ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT, released by Columbia Records on 18 March, 1957. The proximity of this date to the "early script date, 20 March 1957" provided by billp is intriguing. See Trivia items below for other records spotted in the shop. Submitted by Gary Woloski, 22 May 2012.
This may be "incompetent, irrelevant & immaterial" to The Case Of The Pilot Episode, but Perry Mason associate Jackson mentioned here appeared in Episode 2: The Sleepwalker's Niece. Mike Bedard 4.9.15
Perry's hair is much fuller and a bit longer than in later episodes.
We get a very nice view of Gertie's receptionist office early in the show, revealing a file cabinet with one drawer open, showing absolutely no files in it. cgraul 6.7.12
+ Those file cabinets get around, sometimes in Gertie's office, sometimes Della's, sometimes missing completely. Another odd thing - there are always twelve drawers, each labeled with a single letter of the alphabet.DOD 05/10/18
Uncredited Actors: This is another possible three-spot for Don Anderson. He’s one of the uniformed policemen with Lt. Tragg at the crime scene and later a courtroom spectator. He may also be a nightclub patron on the dance floor, but this is another sighting that’s difficult to be certain of. Submitted by FredK 30 September 2010.
Sightings: Carefully guarding the defendant is a police matron played by Distinguished Lady #2. A courtroom spectator when court reconvenes is Distinguished Gentleman #2. Submitted by gracenote, 8/28/2011.
Uncredited Actors: Prolific B-Western actor Dennis Moore (a.k.a. Denny Meadows) plays the amicable stablehand at Etondale Stables. He gets lots of lines, but no credit. Submitted by gracenote, 8/28/2011.
Character Names: Meeker’s first name is Sam. Faulkner’s first name is Frank. Submitted by gracenote, 8/28/2011.
Cherie Chi-Chi II's name is Irene Kilbe.
The Hi-Lo's. Perry visits the "Vine Record Shop" just past half-way through the episode. I couldn't make out any of the LPs on the counter but I did notice the prominent display for the Hi-Lo's and their 1957 LP Suddenly It's The Hi-Lo's. Their "Brahms' Lullaby" seems to be just what Perry would put on after one of his usual late-night working sessions. Submitted by Gary Woloski, 12 Apr 2012.
+ Suddenly It's the Hi-Lo's was the Hi-Lo's first LP with their new label, Columbia Records (as it was for Miles Davis and his 'ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT). Most sources give the Hi-Lo's LP release date as a bare "1957" but one (mtv) gives it as 1 Jan 57. This last date could be correct:
- At least five of the songs on the LP were recorded 17-21 Dec 1956.
- The Hi-Lo's were the regular vocal group for the NBC network's The Rosemary Clooney Show. Jose Ferrer, who wrote the liner notes for Suddenly It's the Hi-Lo's, was guest star on Clooney's 3 Jul 56 show which was re-run on 14 Jan 1957.
The trade magazine BILLBOARD reviewed Suddenly It's the Hi-Lo's in its 23 Feb 57 issue, page 40. The 6 Apr 57 issue, page 24, listed it as the Number One "Pop Album Coming Up Strong" and the Number Four "Most Played by Jockeys". The LP was released before the 20 Mar 57 script date for this episode and cannot further help date the filming. Submitted by Gary Woloski, 22 May 2012.
Perry shows off another Columbia Records LP at the Vine Record Shop when he chooses Castles in Spain by Michel Legrand & His Orchestra to play in the private booth with Lois Fenton. It's hard to identify the LP as he picks it up. However, in the booth he holds the cover up three times so that the title at the top of the back can be easily read. You can also spot the LP on the wall behind the front counter sales clerk: it's the one that looks like it has a picture of three Mouseketeers on it, except that one has a big cigar in his mouth and they turn out to be matadors! Castles in Spain was released by Columbia as CL 888 in 1956 in the Jazz/Easy Listening category. Is the soundtrack music from this LP? Compare to clips here. Submitted by Gary Woloski, 23 May 2012.
+ The album cover may indeed be the one referred to above, but the music heard under the scene is definitely old Vienna. The record Lois is listening to when Perry enters is the Emperor Waltz, one of the most famous by Johann Strauss Jr., which Mason takes off the turntable and replaces. The new one begins with a melody from Strauss's Roses from the South and then veers off into Tales from the Vienna Woods. Submitted by FredK, 8 June 2012.
The music heard ending just before Mason enters the private booth is the same music heard on the pilot of The Twilight Zone "Where Is Everybody?" (broadcast 10/2/59) as Earl Holliman enters the deserted diner with the jukebox playing. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 6/14/12.
More on Product Placements: As you all may have caught on, this fascinating record shop contains nothing but Columbia product! Additional sightings: Bruno Walter conducts Brahms: Symphony No. No. 3 In F Major, Op. 79, Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80, Hungarian Dances, ML 5126 and Budapest String Quartet: Budapest Quartet Encores, ML 5116. Spoiler alert (not really): CBS owned Columbia at this point. I find this all fascinating, because by the 1960s, this would have been a no-no. Broadcasters generally adhered to The National Association of Broadcasters' Television Code. (This was one of those gimmicks like the Motion Picture Production Code and the Comics Code, where the relevant industry self-regulates to avoid government regulation. You may spot the Seal of Good Practices at the end of many old shows indicating adherence to the Television Code.) The Television Code put voluntary limits on the number of advertising minutes per show, and product placements would arguably violate this provision if not counted against the limit. Broadcasters got really jittery about government regulation of TV when game show fixing surfaced, in fact right about the time this episode was shot. This kind of naked product placement would really have been suspect just two or three years later when the Payola scandals (hidden payments to radio stations and DJs for playing records on the radio) broke. (Although I doubt Columbia was paying payola to get Bruno Walter on the radio!) This is the reason that in the 60s and 70s, until the Carter and Reagan administrations successfully challenged the Code as anti-competitive, characters on TV ate weirdly brandless "Corn Flakes" and drank generic "Beer." In case you were wondering, cars were as a matter of practice exempt (can't have Perry on the bus!), which permitted the paid promotion of Fords on Perry. Posted by Old Dave, 6/5/2020.
+ Hence it was a singularly weird life-imitates-art moment for those of us around c.1980 when generics really did appear. Notcom, 060520.
++ Here's a bit of local trivia about generics and product use on sets: In 1978, local grocery store Ralphs introduced a bottom-of-the-line generic, called Plain Wrap, that had a very minimal blue-and-white label and no visible branding at all. Prop Masters on some shows quickly adopted the products: instead of having to crank out replicas to use, they just bought these. A big advantage was that, for example, a can of corn really did have corn in it, was probably cheaper than buying the brand name and replacing the label. It's fun to occasionally spot these on reruns from that era. OLEF641 10/16/2020
Syndicated cuts: Callender returns to Mason's office to tell him about a bullet wound and Mason repeats the description doesn't fit; Mason in room 511 after discovering the body then crossing the hall to room 510 where Drake and the operatives are; scene with Mason and Sheldon where Sheldon packs his things; Mason and the landlady discussing the key and registering and discovering the blood, feathers and hairs in room 5; Mason seeing a man watching him. Additional Hallmark cuts: Drake and Tragg in room 511 and Tragg checking room 510 for Mason; the judge asking Mason if wants to make an opening statement, Mason saying no; Dr. Lambert's testimony. Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 7/18/12.
Name of the "Fan Dancer's Horse": Starlight. - Submitted by H. Mason 9/30/14
Among his many Pre-Acting jobs to support his mother & younger sister/brother, Raymond William Stacey Burr worked as a "Ranch Hand in Roswell, New Mexico" [IMDB Bio]. Mike Bedard 3.8.15.
Minerva Urecal: For information about the actress playing the part of the landlady at the boarding house see trivia notes for episode 231. Submitted by H. Mason 4/23/15
+ The landlady "Minerva Urecal" was in a Three Stooges short They Stooge To Conga where she played Marsha, the Nazi Housekeeper (uncredited). Submitted by HamBurger, 8/13/2017
Sgt Holcomb as a character makes his second appearance here (the first was TCOT Restless Redhead) but it's not the same actor as in that episode.
Featured albums in the record store: The Hi-Lo's "Suddenly It's the Hi-Lo's (1957)", The Fearless Miles Davis, and Tony Bennett among others. By the way, Perry gets to park about four feet from the front door. Submitted by Kilo 3/4/2018.
This is the second of two PM teleplay credits for Stirling Silliphant, who created two television series, "Naked City" and "Route 66", and who won an Academy Award for his screenplay of "In the Heat of the Night" in 1967...MikeM. 5/10/2018