This Perry Mason actor sometimes played three characters in the same episode

Don Anderson was the hardest-working extra on Perry Mason — he even beat Perry Mason!

"The Case of the Witless Witness," the sixth-season finale of Perry Mason, begins in the most shocking way. Perry Mason loses a case! Yes, this is just one of three times we see the ace attorney take the "L." Hey, a few failures in 271 trials is not too shabby a record.

But this is not the only reason the episode stands out. Quietly, another rare Perry Mason feat was achieved  in "Witless Witness." Don Anderson popped up as three characters in the episode.

Who is Don Anderson, you ask?

Don't feel bad if the name is unfamiliar. Anderson was one of the hardest working uncredited actors in classic television. He can be spotted in Batman, Bewitched, Dennis the Menace, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Untouchables and more. But astute viewers can find his face most frequently on Perry Mason.

Anderson appears in more than 120 episodes of the legal drama — from the very first episode ("The Case of the Restless Redhead") to the series finale ("The Case of the Final Fade-Out"). Typically, he is sitting in the courtroom as a spectator, relaxing as a restaurant patron, or sporting a police uniform in the background at some crime scene. But he also got to be a "Fishing Boat Skipper," "Ballroom Dancer," and "Parade Participant."

The extra's moment of glory came in "The Case of the Bartered Bikini." Not only do the closing credits, at last, list his name (portraying "Attorney"), Anderson speaks a line!

Don Anderson in Don Anderson in

"Hello, Mason," he says, exiting the office of Simon Atley (Paul Langton) about halfway through the mystery. Perry nods and replies, "Haverson." The two lawyers seem to be on friendly terms — or perhaps rivals.

A speaking part is nice, as is your name immortalized on the screen, but playing three parts in one episode is perhaps more impressive.

In "The Case of the Witless Witness," he's part of the legal team that has freshly defeated Perry in the opening (perhaps as "Haverson" again?). That's right — he beat Perry! Later, he's a public servant moving Martin Weston's body from the murder scene. Finally, he sits behind the defense at the trial.

Likewise, in "The Case of the Ugly Duckling," he twice turns up as a denizen of the bar frequented by Alice, he leans over a scuba diver as a cop, and he again is seated behind the defense in the courtroom. (We snapped him in all three instances up top.)

Anderson also pulls off the hat trick in "The Case of the Married Moonlighter," making it a triple three-peat for the extraordinary extra.

Lee Miller, the actor who eventually landed a recurring role as Sgt. Brice on the series, also achieved the same feat. He was three characters in the series premiere. And who was standing next to him in uniform in that first episode? Don Anderson.

Did you ever take notice of Anderson?

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ELEANOR 9 days ago
Don Anderson and all of these other bit players had one thing going for them. They could walk out of the studio and go home, go to the grocery store, go bowling, and so on and so forth and not be asked for their autograph or chased by the photographers, etc.
AgingDisgracefully 9 days ago
I'm more a fan of the actual speaking roles of Mister Bobby Bice.
Pacificsun 11 days ago
Don Anderson was born on February 23, 1924 in Los Angeles, California, USA and died in 1983 (only 59). He was an actor, known for Playhouse 90 (1956), all the appearances in Perry Mason beginning (1956) and Switch (1975). He appeared as an audience member in MFU's (The Love Affair) one of the more forgettable episodes guest starring "Oliver" of Green Acres (Eddie Albert).
I forgot about Switch.
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