Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Fickle Fortune 

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.


Laslo Benedek


Erle Stanley Gardner (based upon characters created by), Sol Stein | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond Burr ... Perry Mason
Barbara Hale ... Della Street
William Hopper ... Paul Drake
William Talman ... Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins ... Police Lt. Arthur Tragg
Cathy O'Donnell ... Norma Brooks
Vaughn Taylor ... Ralph Duncan
Philip Ober ... Albert Keller
Robert Casper ... Charley Nickels
Liam Sullivan ... Lloyd Farrell
Helen Brown Helen Brown ... Mrs. Hollister
Virginia Christine ... Helen Duncan
Richard Gaines ... Judge
Eve March ... Nurse Hamilton
Connie Cezon Connie Cezon ... Gertie Lade


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) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Mason is cross-examining one of the witnesses, he misuses the word "infer", using it instead of "imply". While this is a common grammatical error, it is very unusual for Mason. See more »

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User Reviews

A very well done episode
18 July 2013 | by kfo9494See 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!

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