6 little differences you never noticed in the Perry Mason pilot episode

"The Moth-Eaten Mink" was filmed months before the other episodes — and it shows.

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The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink | Perry Mason Episode Deep Dive
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The first episode of Perry Mason was not the first episode of Perry Mason. The masterful mystery series premiered on September 21, 1957, with "The Case of the Restless Redhead." Three months later, in the midst of its first season, the show aired "The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink." This unassuming episode holds quite an important place in the history of Perry Mason. The cast and crew made "Moth-Eaten Mink" half a year before the other episodes. This was actually the pilot episode of Perry Mason.

The cast and crew set about production of "Moth-Eaten Mink" in October 1956, nearly a full year prior to the show's debut. (To put this in perspective, "Restless Redhead" filmed in late March 1957.) 

The gap in time is evident on the screen. There are many subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences. Overall, the show carries more of a film-noir feel, right down to Perry's fleeting fondness for wearing a stereotypical detective's hat. 

Let's take a look at some other interesting differences from the other episodes you might have missed!

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1. Perry doesn't have car.


Perry Mason showcases a fleet of beautiful vehicles. Both GM and Ford were sponsors. In "The Case of the Restless Redhead," the series premiere as you remember, Perry pulls up in a gorgeous 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner. He drives a convertible white Buick the next episode. So imagine how weird it must have been when the pilot aired in the middle of the season and suddenly Perry is taking cabs everywhere. That's right, he doesn't drive in "Moth-Eaten Mink." He takes a taxi everywhere! 

2. Perry and Della hang out in a different restaurant.


Perry and Della love to enjoy a business meal in a restaurant. Clay's later become a favorite haunt for the legal eagles. In the pilot, however, they hang in a different joint, a more upscale place named Morey's. The waiters here wear white coats (with "Morey's Restaurant" embroidered over the breast). It does seem pretty fancy for day-to-day noshing, so perhaps they picked a cheap place moving forward?

3. Perry has a shorter hair.


In the pilot, Perry has a closely trimmed head of hair. You can see here how much shaggier he got in the subsequent episodes. Hey, pal, this is the Fifties! What are you, a hippie?

4. Paul is not quite a blond.


Speaking of hair, check out Paul's darker locks. He was practically a silver fox in later episodes.

5. There is a different lamp next to the sofa in Perry's office.


Perry's office remains one of the most iconic — and enviable — workplaces in TV history. With its abstract horse paintings, works of sculpture and leather-bound legal tomes, it demonstrates the success and education of the occupant. Take a close look at the lamp atop the end table that sits between his sofa and door. It has multiple orbs in "Moth-Eaten Mink." In subsequent episodes, the lamp has a spherical body. 

6. It was the final acting role of Kay Faylen, first wife of Regin Philbin.


Perry's client (well, one of them) in "Moth-Eaten Mink" is Dixie Dayton, played by Kay Faylen, seen here. Oddly, this would be the final screen role for Faylen. Her father, Frank Faylen, played the dad on The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis. That is not her only connection to TV history — she also married Regis Philbin! Faylen and Philbin were married from 1955–68 and had a son and a daughter together.

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LynCarrigan 4 months ago
I think I remember one PM episode that had Gertie come in with a message.
George58 4 months ago
I often wondered why Erle Stanley Gardner never got his name in the ending credits of the final episode, "The Case Of The Final Fade Out". If I hadn't read that it was he who played the judge at the end I never would have guessed who he was?
George58 4 months ago
"The Case Of The Moth-Eaten Mink" is one of my favorite episodes. Along with "The Case Of The Deadly Verdict". Too bad they never made a "Christmas type" episode.
JodyWelch 4 months ago
I wish I could find one thing that belonged to Raymond Burr.
Salem 31 months ago
Perry Mason is the best show for repeats of all time, even once you have seen the episode, I watch it again and again to better understand the outcome
JodyWelch Salem 4 months ago
Love Perry
JeffPaul76 37 months ago
Concerning #6, about Frank Faylen, he played the Dad in The Many Loves, (not Lives), of Dobie Gillis.
rraynard 37 months ago
My wife says I'm a PM addict. Because I watch it twice a day 😀
DethBiz 39 months ago
And #7...no mention of Perry's illegitimate brother Grimes and ne-me-sees.
VenturaCapitalist 40 months ago
Frank Faylen (Herbert T. Gillis) was also in a lot of Noir movies.
Can anybody explain the wall treatment in Perry's office?? Is is some kind of wood, with big black blotches?
frances3agape 43 months ago
I can hardly wait to alert my BF about this!
She is such a huge PM fan and is watching this as we speak.
She watches MeTV a LOT but I cannot convince her to sign up for the emails.
AgingDisgracefully 43 months ago
Regis Philbin's real-life father-in-law was Dobie Gillis's TV father?
I'm having a David Crosby, "Oh wow, man. My head is going to explode!" moment.
(In fairness, this happens a lot.)
WOW - that is a Biggie trivia tidbit
MrsPhilHarris 43 months ago
Perry became a better dresser after a while.
Pacificsun MrsPhilHarris 43 months ago
So did Paul Drake!

But I digress 😉!
MrsPhilHarris Pacificsun 43 months ago
He did! Got snappier sports jackets.
Pacificsun MrsPhilHarris 43 months ago
What actually happens, is that the more popular a Show becomes, the budget increases. Thus more wardrobe variety! Sometimes the designer gets publicity in the credits, like Botany 500 for men's clothing.
MrsPhilHarris Pacificsun 43 months ago
Oh yes I remember seeing Botany 500 on old shows.
JeffPaul76 MrsPhilHarris 37 months ago
And he (Raymond Burr), Perry Mason, put on a LOT OF WEIGHT over the course of the series. He was pretty thin when it started, and a LOT HEAVIER by the end.
Filmnoirfan 43 months ago
Definitely one of the best episodes in the series
MikefromJersey 43 months ago
Excellent job, MeTV crew, now you are cooking with gas. You guys should sign your name.
When the author is noted as just "staff" it sounds as if you are serfs on a British manor
estate. It's also interesting to learn the styles and interests of whomever is penning
a given piece. For instance I would assume a Dobie Gillis fan had a part in writing
this Perry Mason bit.
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I did Hallowe’en comedies last night. Fell asleep to Abbot & Costello, woke up a few hours later to Jack Benny and finally this morning woke up to Burns & Allen. I had on OTR Halloweenholidaze. It has comedies, lots of mysteries, Inner Sanctum, Quiet Please, big band, etc. Lot’s of fun. Reminds me of when I was a kid a radio station played otr shows for 4 hours ever night. Love otr.
Love Phil Harris, an early rapper - That's what I like about the south.
Lol I never thought of him that way! 😀
JeffPaul76 MikefromJersey 37 months ago
Also called a Root Beer Float.
Srowsey 43 months ago
Did they ever show the receptionist Girdie in any episode?
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frances3agape texasluva 43 months ago
1) When I visit my elderly neighbors across the street, 90 pct of the time he is watching the GRIT channel. Most of the year it was always either Gunsmoke or Arness' How the West Was Won series.
2) Almost mentioned to you several times, my younger brother who has lived in Houston 20 years is visiting us
texasluva frances3agape 43 months ago
I am in the next county over near Dallas. Plano In Collin County. I am not a real Texan per say. Spent most of my life in San Diego. My work brought me here in 2004. So I'm now a 💁‍♂️ Texasluva. Good to have your brother visit.....
frances3agape texasluva 43 months ago
Jim doesn't like the heat, but says he can live anywhere as long as his family is there (as most of would)
10 years before meeting Hubby, he worked for a year or so in Dallas/Ft Worth. He HAD to return home so we could have our destined meeting!
Delmo MikefromJersey 35 months ago
I have the whole run of Perry Mason books. They have not been updated.
Tuckerpete 43 months ago
Regis Philbin not: 6. It was the final acting role of Kay Faylen, first wife of Regin Philbin.
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