Saturday, August 17, 2019

An unsolved murder in The Case of the Golden Oranges

In the Perry Mason episode, The Case of the Golden Oranges, which first aired on 7 March 1963, there was a murder that until now has remained unrecognized and unsolved. 

Architect, James (Jimmy) Wheeler, unpaid for his services, returns to the subdivision construction office late one night to claim his house models, only to be surprised by Mrs. Doyle who drops by for a rendezvous with developer Gerald Thornton.

Jimmy: These things belong to me Mrs. Doyle. I made them on my own time. I'm taking them with me.

Mrs. Doyle: I wonder just how far you're going to get with them.

Jimmy places a model on the floor beside his carton, unaware of the horror that's about to occur when Mr. Thornton arrives.

Mr. Thornton: Well what have we here?

Mrs. Doyle: Mr. Wheeler tells me he's repossessing some of his little trinkets.

Mr. Thornton: Well that's funny. I thought they were my little trinkets.

If it makes you feel any better, Gerald ('The Foot') Thornton is later shot, not for this outrage, and it's not by Jimmy, but who could blame him if he did. 

No more is mentioned of this crushing of an innocent miniature building. 

I can only hope they got this scene in one take :-)


  1. The Foot! Thanks for this bit of comedy. You never know what lines of work and what kinds of materials might turn up in an episode of Perry Mason.

    1. It's mind boggling what turns up. I recall seeing an episode with Bobby Troup as some sort of jazz hep-cat, and Adam West as a folk singer looking for old sheet music in a used bookstore. The show never ceases to amaze.

  2. I dunno. The first photo shows what looks like a decent dark colored scratchbuild. On the crushing photos, it looks like a cheap white plastic kit that they substituted for the destruction. What do you think?

    1. That's an interesting observation. At the beginning of the episode they show 2 models on the drafting table, and although they are in deep shadow, neither appears to be the one taken off the drafting table in this sequence. So somebody was playing with the 'little trinkets' and made a substitution :-)

      But, in the scene in question, I think the model being crushed is the one from the drafting table shown a few seconds before the deed. One more but: I wonder if the production staff built these up from kits or scratchbuilt them. My guess is that they are either in 1/8" or 1/4" scale, which would be common for architectural models, and I think they might have been scratchbuilt. I'd need some better familiarity with house kits from that era to know for sure.