Perry Mason Season 1 Defendants: Nora Mae Quincy vs. Anna Hauser
Updated: Sep 27, 2022
The tournament’s first matchup is a duel between two grand dames: Lenore Shanewise and Lorene Tuttle.
(That’s right. The actresses’ first names are anagrams of each other!)
Lenore Shanewise was 71 when she played defendant Nora Mae Quincy in The Case of the Fiery Fingers. Lorene Tuttle was 51 when she played matriarch Anna Hauser in The Case of the Substitute Face.
Pregame Analysis: If this contest comes down to crying, Lorene’s got this one in the bag.
Was the defendant memorable?
If I think of The Case of the Fiery Fingers (which is not all that regularly, tbh), I think of
Nora Mae first. Her homespun prescriptions, her playacting with expensive jewelry, her
lowball fee for Mason’s services – she nails her part.
If I think of The Case of the Substitute Face, I do think of Anna Hauser’s perpetual tears.
But I also think of Joan Tabor as Evelyn Whiting, Perry and Della on a liner looking at the
ocean, and the old switcheroo at the episode’s end. The episode itself is more
memorable than Anna Hauser herself.
Advantage: Nora Mae Quincy, the most memorable character in a forgettable episode >
Anna Hauser, a lesser part of a more memorable episode.
Was the defendant the most compelling non-permanent character in the case?
In The Case of the Fiery Fingers, the answer is yes. The only other captivating figure is
the niece played by Mary LaRoche, the episode’s murderer. Vicky Braxton comes in a
distant second to Nora Mae.
In The Case of the Substitute Face, Anna Hauser has some stiff competition. Nurse
Evelyn Whiting deserves a nomination, as does blowhard Roland Carter. There’s the
Hauser daughter, Laura (the case’s best testimony sequence), and let's not forget Carl
Hauser, the man with the moneybelt, a gun, and a keepsake photo of his family–a fairly
sympathetic murder victim.
Advantage: Nora Mae Quincy
Does Perry respect the defendant?
Guess who’s sharing a meal with Perry and Della in the denouement of The Case the
Fiery Fingers? That would be Nora Mae Quincy, sipping coffee out of fine china and
trotting out her tried but true “Let me give you $25 for a fee because when I grew up a
pound of sugar was a nickel” routine. Perry and Della can only exchange hammy
glances as Nora Mae steals the scene. As for the fee? Perry accepts it with a grin.
As for Anna Hauser? She’s nowhere to be seen as Paul, Della, and Perry share
sandwiches. The clue that Paul discusses? The disappearing photo, which is more
about Carl than about Anna. The thing that baffles Della? That Carter’s secretary turned
out to be Shreves. Nobody cares what’s going to happen to the newly widowed Hauser,
Advantage: Nora Mae Quincy
Finally, do we have a prior history with the actor or actress?
Nora Mae portrayer Lenore Shanewise only appeared on the show once. If you know the
history of the Pasadena Playhouse and its role in galvanizing the acting energy of many a Perry Mason standout, you know Shanewise’s meta-importance. But here? No.
Lorene Tuttle appeared in six Mason episodes. She’s a standard weepy defendant, and
so in a world of syndication, every time we see Lorene, we know she’s also going to be Sarette Winslow, Emma Bailey, Sarah Breel, etc.
Advantage: Anna Hauser
Final Verdict: The judge finds NORA MAE QUINCY the victor in this head-to-head matchup.
Congratulations, Nora! Your prize is $5 and a box of costume jewelry. As you move on to face Season 1 powerhouse Evelyn Bagby in the next round, we wish you good luck. You’re going to need it!