Case of the 12th Wildcat 1965

CBS Television Network

Oh, this one should make both my brother and my wife go, “Gah!!…NOOOOoooo!!” (neither can STAND Perry Mason for various reasons, best not discussed here).

But…it’s my blog and there’s trains in it, so a-posting I will go. Three different railroads are seen in stock footage, but more about that later.

Originally broadcast on Halloween night 1965, “12th Wildcat” featured a Southern Pacific passenger train from San Francisco to Los Angeles on SP’s Coast Line. The action takes place in the dark of early morning onboard a lounge car and a couple sleepers in the first 12 minutes of the feature.

Come along and watch with amusement as I search for clues to the identity of some poorly-lit railroad equipment. Objection! Counsel is assuming a fact not in evidence and is leading the witness!

I include this interior shot of the lounge car purely for this guy’s wonderful, leering smirk.

It’s probably just a set, but includes a well-stocked bar — which fuels a drunken souse leading to murder!

Our first train scene is on….the Chicago & North Western Railway!

Nice water tower left over from steam days. We’ve got a CNW EMD GP7 running long nose forward in passenger service. There’s no mistaking those big stripes on the front and CNW logo on the cab side of the Geep. Courtesy of The Trolley Dodger is this color view of another CNW GP7 with the following caption:

C&NW GP7 is at an unknown location, on a morning train running between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin in March 1954. Bill Shapotkin: “This location is West Allis, WI just west of Belden Tower (the freight line to Butler is in background). View looks N/E.”

At Salinas, California, the train makes a 5 minute stop. The Los Angeles “Wildcats” are the football team on board.

As the conductor announces the stop, we can read the sign behind him which says, “Passengers should not stand on platform and must not open vestibule door.”

The train rolls through the night. This one’s really dark, but it appears to be an EMD “cab unit” (E unit, F unit) of some sort, with a gyralite and 5 chime air horn.

Overall view of the lounge car set. Some big, beefy gents walk down the aisle. This episode used members of the Los Angeles Rams football team as extras.

Close up of the bar. Bartender pouring some fresh, wholesome milk for the boys, out of a glass milk bottle (remember those?).

Milk?? Bah! The old souse Burt (played by Bill Williams) is ragging on his players, one of whom wants to punch him out. Take a wild guess at who is going to be bumped off in this episode…

The souse’s long-suffering wife Ellen (played by Mona Freeman), watches the guys play cards in a sleeper bedroom/compartment. Later she emerges from the car SP #9206 (note the #40 also).

SP #9206 was originally a Pullman 10-5 lightweight sleeper purchased in 1941 for Southern Pacific’s overnight train, “The Lark” which ran between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In the final lounge scene, Souse Burt is foolishly bad-mouthing someone much larger than himself. I like how the windows have curtains AND blinds.

Hey, this guy looks familiar. The one L.A. Rams player in this episode I remember from back in the day, Roman Gabriel!

Next is a series of train runbys as it rolls south towards L.A.  All the trains shown are different.

At “Santa Barbara”, a Southern Pacific 6000 series EMD E7 with gyralight flashing, races towards and over the camera. Looking at the number boards, the “1” indicates this is the westbound Sunset Limited.

For color comparison is SP #6003 in daylight scheme pulling train #1 the Sunset Limited – unknown photographer – picture found on Pinterest.

At “Oxnard”, we see a set of SP EMD F units in the freight “Black Widow” paint scheme flashing by the camera.

Lifted from my review of Bad Day at Black Rock 1954 is a pair of similar-looking Black Widow F’s at Lone Pine, California.

Finally at “Glendale”, comes Santa Fe Railway’sChief” with its full-length dome lounge car. Trains #19 & #20 ran between Los Angeles and Chicago and lived in the shadow of ATSF’s more famous Super Chief.

The scenery appears to be New Mexico or Arizona and the train is led by a beautifully-matched set of A-B-B-A EMD F units. There’s no mistaking that Budd-built dome and I include this publicity photo of the Chief by Santa Fe Railway photographer Don Erb for comparison.

Our final train shot has a lot of interesting details and appears to be on the CBS studio lot. The sleeper (note the “40” in the window) is probably Southern Pacific #9206 seen earlier. Car 40 is on rails and Perry Mason is seen later, climbing aboard to view the murder scene.

Many thanks to my brother Mark for identifying the vehicles as follows:

The LAPD Bus is a 1948 Flxible ClipperYes, it really IS spelled Flxible.

The police car in the background is a 1965 Chevy Impala.

The police car in the foreground is a 1963-1964 Ford Galaxie.

The train scenes end about 12 minutes into the feature, but the episode itself has a very interesting twist at the end. More of those famous Mason courtroom theatrics!

Here’s what IMDb has to say about The Case of the 12th Wildcat:

If you have ANY information about this movie you’d like to share, please contact me at:, or leave a comment.  Thanks and enjoy the blog!




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