CARS: 1958 Ford Thunderbird convertible, black, top down. From The Cars by Greg Cockerill.
Look for the black actor and director Frank Silvera playing lead Jonathan Hyett—a somewhat daring situation in 1958. Submitted by Karl Eggert, 5/7/05.
+ Actually, according to Wikipedia, Frank Silvera was not "black", but rather he was born to a mixed-race Jamaican mother and a Spanish Jewish father. jfh 10Jul2019.
++ Whether or not you can decide for him if he identified as Mixed Race, Mulatto, or Negro during his lifetime, it is pretty obvious from his skin tone, even in black-and-white film, that then or now he would be identified as a Person of Color. And, yes, that was rather daring in 1958. As for how be thought of himself, according to Wikipedia, "In 1964, Silvera and Vantile Whitfield founded the Theatre of Being, a Los Angeles-based theatre dedicated to providing black actors with non-stereotypical roles. One of their first projects was producing The Amen Corner by African-American writer James Baldwin. Silvera and Whitfield financed the play themselves and with donations from friends. It opened on March 4, 1964, and would gross $200,000 within the year, moving to Broadway in April 1965." In fact, i think that the veiled threat that Charles Brewster made about the "skeleton in your closet" -- which would somehow embarrass Hyett's daughter, and the mention of which caused him to back down to Brewster's bullying, may refer to Hyett's status as a mixed-race father of two "white" members of high society, in other words, a man who is, to use the lingo of the time, "passing for white." Submitted by catyron, December 22, 2020.
+++ If Silvera asked for a motel room in the Jim Crow south, I don't think there would be a debate whether he was really black! This show aired during the nascent civil rights movement; would have been cool if PM had more black actors AND characters. Rick P 10/6/21
Strange casting. Frank Silvera, an African-American actor age 44 at that time, is cast as the father of Joan Banks, a light-skinned strawberry blonde age 40 at that time. (Joan Banks looked every bit of 40 by the way). Submitted by PaulDrake33.
+ This actually caused some confusion for me while watching the show--as he kept referring to his daughter, and I had to remind myself that the wife of the victim was his daughter. During the final scene, in the close ups, I thought: he is too young to be her father. --yelocab 20NOV18
++ And Ralph Clanton, who plays his son, is the same age as Frank Silvera! And it shows, in all three cases. Perhaps the most extreme example of miscasting as to age in any episode. Submitted by JazzBaby, 8/5/2019.
Joan Banks plays almost exactly the same character that she played in Episode 12, “TCOT Negligent Nymph,” the alcoholic wife of the murder victim—a woman who cannot function without a drink in her hand. Submitted by PaulDrake33.
+ For the second episode in a row, we have an unhappily married couple. Submitted by Duffy, 5-14-2014.
++ Ditto, Perry praises Hamilton: "That won't affect Mr. Burger; we've had our differences, but you can't accuse him of playing politics." Mike Bedard 6.8.16 MeTV viewing.
+++ Which is an interesting statement by Perry considering the fact that District Attorneys in California are elected, thus making DAs politicians by definition.
Why do most of these people live in Victorian mansions. What that so common in the 50's? Submitted by Perry Baby 2/1/15.
When Squires is in Mason’s office, Della dials a number for him. She dials seven digits, whereas in previous episodes when people dialed a # they would dial only five numbers. Submitted by Craig, 3/25/10.
+ In 1958, the year this show was broadcast, Ma Bell had just started to implement 7-digit phone numbers and All-Number Calling, especially in larger cities. In some rural areas, even into the 1980s and 1990s it was not necessary to dial the full exchange (the first three numbers). Submitted by gracep, 1/17/2011.
Uncredited Actors: The bailiff stationed at the main courtroom door is Don Anderson. Submitted by FredK, 20 December 2010.
Sightings: Seated in the back row of the courtroom gallery on the defendant’s side is the Little Old Lady in a Hat who also appears in the opening credits. Quiet Old Man #1, Distinguished Gentleman #1, and “Miss Carmody” appear on the prosecutor’s side. When court reconvenes the next day, however, we find that all four of them have switched sides. These are some of many recurring spectators that are fun to spot. Submitted by gracep, 12/16/2010.
+In court we find the Distinguished Lady #4 next to the LOL #1. Submitted by BigBill767, 2/4/17.
Syndication cuts: Brewster driving up to the Hyett Building; a mailman delivering a package containing microfilm to Carolyn Ellis and Carolyn opening a phone book; Newspaper headline "Brewster Free on Bail" as Carolyn prepares dinner for Martin who makes a drink and goes out to get more liquor; Della and Paul are told by Mason that they have half the day ahead of them and Paul reports he couldn't discover anything about the microfilm; Mason calling Mrs. Brewster, Richard Hyett saying she can't come to the phone because she's sick and attempts to get her to quit drinking. [Note: the scene with Mason, Della and Carolyn in Mason's office before Paul arrives detailing the business of Hyett, Brewster and Hyett and that the fraudulent bills disappeared before Martin's trial reported missing from the CBS/Paramount DVD is included in the syndicated version.] Submitted by Wiseguy70005, 8/01/12.
Wrong name: Actor Harvey Stephens was billed as Victor Squires in the credits. The name on the envelope mailed to him was Lawrence Squires. Submitted by H. Mason 10/14/14
Travel tips: Charles Brewster aka Charles Brown aka George Kendall purchased tickets to Mexico City from Wayne Travel Agency. He was killed. In episode 20 TCOT Lonely Heiress Charles B. Barnaby aka "Country Boy" Baker aka Charlie Bailey aka Charles Burns bought tickets to Rio de Janeiro from Wayne Travel Agency. He was killed. If you use more than one name don't get your tickets from Wayne Travel Agency. Submitted by H. Mason 10/14/14
Same apartment: The establishing shot of the Shane Apartments was the same one used for the apartment building where Paul found Inez Kaylor after she was threatened and left the courthouse in episode 29 TCOT Hesitant Hostess. Submitted by H. Mason 10/14/14
What time was it?: Martin Ellis said he left his apartment around 9:30 to get a drink. His watch was very visible in that scene and showed the time to be either 3:00 or 12:15. Submitted by H. Mason 10/14/14
This is the only PM writing credit for Barry Trivers, who was born in Egypt in 1907...MikeM. 9/14/2016.
Anne Barton played Eddie Haskell's Mother on the 1960 series "Leave it to Beaver". Eddie was quite a guy. Submitted by BigBill767, 2/4/17.
This is the first of three PM appearances for Chuck Webster, the first two as Sergeant Brice. Although Lee Miller has appeared as Sergeant Brice before this episode, Lee Miller had never received a credit in the titles. According to Jim Davidson in "The Perry Mason Book", Chuck Webster had been the radio voice of Paul Drake. Lee Miller would receive his first credit as Sergeant Brice in the episode following Chuck Webster's second appearance in the role...MikeM. 6/26/2018
(1) Seems to me the murder victim, Charles Brewster, moves his fingers as the gun is put into his hand by his father-in-law.
(2) As Perry is looking through the tin box for the share certificates, in Mrs Ellis' apartment, there is a metallic clanging sound. I thought perhaps that Perry had shaken the box at that moment but he is holding it steady. Clothears, 5th Jan 2020.
+ If you look carefully, you can see that Perry’s left hand, the one holding the lid, moves. It apparently banged the handle against the lid. There is a similar sound when Paul pulls the box out of the cabinet and tosses it up slightly. OLEF641 12/4/2020
ETT-cetera one wonders if someone was being surreptiously recognized with the use of the unorthodox spelling "Hyett" (as opposed to "Hyatt"). It's an actual surname, but - remarkably - an
LA Directory from the period shows not a single one (tho perhaps as remarkable is that there are only twelve "Hyatt"s.) Notcom 011724.
+I hereby nominate Notcom for the 2024 PM Historical Research Award. Next up: Has anybody in U.S. history ever borne the name Hartwell Pitkin? (See TCOT Cautious Coquette) Submitted by BobH, 17 January 2024.
> While I can't rise to the challenge of all of U.S. History, a more measured search seems reasonable: in 1958 the Los Angeles area was served by no less than five sets of directories - some of them with multiple volumes - but what about just the Central area ?? "Pitkin" shows four total listings, three of them individual: Earl -, Orson - and Robert -...Orson Pitkin?? Hmmm..Maybe there really is something about that surname that attracts novelty. Notcom 011824.
> "A Curious Coincidence or a Pitkinite Plot?" In 1913, the Texas Court of Civil Appeals heard a case entitled "Missouri, Kansas-Texas Railway Company v. Pitkin." The case originally involved a fellow by the name of Orson Pitkin, who had brought a suit for damages caused by personal injuries he sustained while riding as a passenger on the appellant's road; the coach in which he was riding having been derailed and thrown from the track. Could this be the same Orson Pitkin who appeared in the 1958 LA phone directory? Even more interestingly, "The Case of the Cautious Coquette"-- the case in which Hartwell Pitkin appears-- involves a possible suit for damages for personal injuries suffered in a hit-and-run accident. Coincidence? Probably so. Or did possible familiarity with the 1913 case suggest to ESG a name for his blackmailing chauffeur in TCOT Cautious Coquette? Submitted, with a raised eyebrow, by BobH, 27 January 2024.