Sen. Al Franken got some chuckles at Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing with a cheeky observation about the classic TV show "Perry Mason": "It amazes me that you wanted to become a prosecutor based on the show, because in 'Perry Mason' the prosecutor on that show lost every week" except for one episode.

Grilled further, Sotomayor couldn't remember which episode the famed defense attorney came up short _ and neither could Franken.

We used our crack investigative skills to find the culprit, "The Case of the Deadly Verdict," which aired in 1963. And there's a twist: It stars an actor named Franken.

Who is this other Franken? We called up Stephen Franken, a working actor who most recently starred in "Angels & Demons," to find out.

His bombshell?

"I can tell you Al Franken is my cousin. His father and my father were first cousins."

If we were Perry Mason, we might say that Al Franken should have been more familiar with the episode in question.

But cousin Steve doesn't remember it too well, either. "All I can remember is that I had to wear high heeled shoes and I'm a small man _ I wound up wearing the same high-heeled shoes Jack Lemmon wore in 'Some Like It Hot.'"

The other Franken played the villain and made his escape because he was wearing a raincoat and only seen from behind.

Does the actor think the Senator can take any lessons from Perry Mason?

"Live a long life and stay in the Senate for a very long time. 'Perry Mason' had a long run and I hope he does, too."

Oh, and one more thing: "Can you please tell Al that I'm in seventh heaven about his being seated in the Senate? We haven't talked in a couple of years, but I'm absolutely thrilled and excited by his election."

Although "Deadly Verdict" is popularly known as the only time Perry Mason "lost" _ he did ultimately clear his client _ fans will recall a first-season episode called "The Case of the Terrified Typist" in which Mason's client was found guilty, and for good reason, too _ because he was.

___

AP researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.