Perry Mason: Season 4, Episode 15

The Case of the Fickle Fortune (21 Jan. 1961)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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While conducting an inventory of a home whose owner died intestate, tax official Ralph Duncan comes across $153,000 in very old currency hidden under a drawer. The money is stolen from his briefcase so he consults Perry Mason.



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Title: The Case of the Fickle Fortune (21 Jan 1961)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Norma Brooks
Ralph Duncan
Albert Keller
Robert Casper ...
Charley Nickels
Lloyd Farrell
Helen Brown ...
Mrs. Hollister
Virginia Christine ...
Helen Duncan
Richard Gaines ...
Eve March ...
Nurse Hamilton
Connie Cezon ...


County tax man Ralph Duncan inventories a house after the owner died intestate. While there a woman stops by to question him about some items saying she had been the owner's maid. He finds a cache of old greenbacks, "shin plasters," worth $153,000. When he arrives home to show his wife Helen and cousin, Charlie Nickles, the surprising find, the money is gone. Unknown to Duncan, Nickles has the money and fences it to Lloyd Farrell, an import/export merchant. Farrell turns to another county employee, Norma Brooks, to find elderly, infirm Josiah Ames, who is near death. Farrell plants $148,000 of the money in Ames' effects, which are bequeathed to his accountant, Albert Keller. Upon seeing the story in the newspaper, Duncan consults Perry Mason, who speaks with Keller. After a woman calls Duncan he visits Farrell who he founds dead. Duncan is leaving the house as the police arrive so Duncan is arrested. Written by richardann

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

21 January 1961 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The "greenbacks" referred to in this episode are large-bill US currency that was removed from circulation in the late 1920's. See more »

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User Reviews

A really stupid act
18 October 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This episode starts with an incredibly stupid act. Vaughn Taylor who is county tax assessor in doing an inventory of the estate of a recently deceased man and finds a fortune over $150,000.00 in old style Greenback notes that could be redeemable under certain circumstances with the government. So what does this nitwit do? He takes them home to show the wife and in the meantime stops at a convenience store where someone lifts them. Panicking Taylor seeks out the advice of Perry Mason.

As is always the case he needs him because a little investigation leads to a rather elegant fence played by Liam Sullivan who when Taylor goes to confront him turns up very dead. Now Taylor needs Raymond Burr.

One twist in this case is usually clients aren't completely truthful with Perry Mason for one reason or another and there's always a scene where he has to shake truth out of them to gain an acquittal and find the real culprit. In this case poor Taylor is completely guileless and tells him the whole truth and thereby aids in getting out of the jackpot he put himself in.

This episode had a little too many improbable coincidences for me. But it also had a beautiful ferret faced, sneaky looking red herring in this that you swore had to be the killer. As for the real killer, it's not one you would immediately suspect. That made up for the improbabilities.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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