Perry Mason: Season 4, Episode 15

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

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 62 users  
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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

21 January 1961 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This marks the return of William Talman as D.A. Hamilton Burger after a ten months absence. He was fired from the series in March 1960 on the morals clause of his contract (he had been arrested when the police raided his friends home), and after ten months Talman returned to reprise his role for the remainder of the series run. See more »

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User Reviews

A very well done episode
18 July 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When a County Tax official, Ralph Duncan, is probating items in a house when he comes across some old money called 'greenbacks'. Against departmental policy Duncan takes the money home to show his wife. However someone stole the money out of his briefcase and Duncan goes to Perry for help.

Later Duncan gets a call from a woman advising that the greenbacks is over at a house that is owned by Lloyd Farrell. And as you can guess, Duncan goes over to Farrell's house, all my himself, and finds Farrell dead. With Farrell's suspicious past Lt Tragg believes that Duncan was stealing and Farrel was fencing and this could have been going on for many years. When something went wrong Duncan killed Farrell. Duncan is charged with murder.

There is many suspects. From a flighty cousin, a nervous secretary to an accountant that stumbles on the witness stand- this will leave the viewer guessing. But when all looks lost, Perry will get help from a nurse at a county home to bring this case to a close. A very well done episode.

Welcome back William Talman!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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