Perry Mason (1957–1966)
7 user 1 critic

The Case of the Substitute Face 

Carl Houser quits his bank job and loads his money belt with cash as he leaves. He takes his family on a ship cruise where his wife consults Perry about the cash but when Carl apparently goes overboard she is charged with murder.



(novel), (teleplay)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Tragg (credit only)
Anna Houser
Maureen Cassidy ...
Laura Houser
Joan Tabor ...
Evelyn Whiting Carter
Ralph Dumke ...
Roland Carter
Carl Houser
Maurice Wells ...
Andrew Dale
Judge Romley
Capt. Walters
Donald Lawton ...
Daniel James
Noel Drayton ...
Frank Buchanan - Ship Purser


Carl Houser secretly loads up a money belt in the bank where he worked but has quit, and takes his wife Anna and their daughter Laura on a cruise. Coincidentally, Perry Mason and Della Street are on the same ship, along with a patient confined to a wheel chair whose face is completely covered with bandages. Anna consults Perry about the fact her husband is carrying almost $100,000 in cash which she believes he embezzled from the bank. One night, Carl disappears overboard, and Anna is charged with murder when her wet dress shows she was on the deck in the bad weather with him. Perry notices, however, that a picture of the Houser family has disappeared. The investigation clears Carl of embezzlement, but the Chicago mob might somehow be involved when Anna tells Perry the family moved from Chicago after Carl was on a mob trial jury. The questions for Perry are: who has jurisdiction in the case, and where is the mysterious patient? Written by richardann

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

10 May 1958 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


[first lines]
Andrew Dale: [to Carl after he announce quitting after one year] Really, Carl, I don't understand you. I don't understand you at all.
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User Reviews

Full of surprises- makes for a great watch
27 May 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The episode starts out like so many other 'Perry Mason' shows when our first few frames is a bank bookkeeper, Carl Houser, goes to the president to resign his post. A few minutes later we see Carl go inside a bank filing cabinet- take a large sum of money- and place it inside a money belt located under his shirt. Even the most novice mystery fan can already determine the course of this episode's action. But be prepared for some surprises along the way.

The next scene takes us onto a ship called the 'Westminster'. There we find the Houser family, Carl and his wife Anna (played by the talented Lurene Tuttle) along with their daughter Evelyn on vacation. Perry and Della are also passengers making a return trip to the LA area.

While sailing, Anna Houser talks with Perry about the large sum of money that her husband possesses. She believes that her husband stole the money and wants Perry to talk to the bank about returning the remaining cash for a promise to not prosecute. But before Perry can even answer the question, a man is seen pushed overboard and the culprit matches the description of Anna Houser.

Since the ship was in California waters, Hamilton Burger's DA office will try to prosecute Anna for the murder of her husband. Perry and his team will try to defend Anna from the blows of evidence presented in court.

From the start of the show, we the viewer believe we have an idea of how this episode will unfold. But as stated, this episode has many twist and many turns. You will be glued to the screen wanting to know what else can happen and who will, or will not be, found to testify.

One person has a big secret- and when exposed will even come as a shock to Perry. So watch this with eyes wide open because it is good.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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