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The Girl in the Gilded Cage

 

Week #1 of 3.

 


The original script is by Carlton E. Morse, copyright 1986/1992 with excerpts from the original

The synopsis is written by Harold M. Hart, original material copyright 2000.


Episode 1 (Thursday August 30th, 1951)

SOUND: Clock Strikes Midnight

Jack and Doc are waiting at the office of the Triple A-One Detective Agency in Los Angeles.  Growing impatient, they have been waiting two days and two nights for orders.  They had been called earlier in the week by a Federal agent who told them that the Government needs the detectives to do a special job, and that he would phone again soon with details.  Finally, late at night they receive the phone call they had been awaiting.  The agent tells them to dress like two hoboes, and to make sure their faces and hands look as though they are tramps on the move.  They are instructed to drive to the freight yards and find Track 17 where a freight train is being made up.  Jack and Doc are to find an empty box car that is chalked with a triple X.  Then, they are to hide out in a nearby train shed and board the box car at the last minute before the train pulls out of the yards.  And, most important, declares the agent, they are to make certain they are not followed.

Relieved to finally get into action, the two detectives race to their car and begin the drive to the freight yards.  As their car moves into the street, a big black panther-like automobile is started and pulls away from the curb, on their tail.  Soon Jack and Doc realize they are not alone on the dark streets.  Jack speeds up and, with tires shrieking, tries to elude the pursuing vehicle.  He turns suddenly into a narrow street.

DOC:   “Jack!  Look out!  This is a blind alley!  Looook out!”

Their car crashes into a brick wall at the end of the cul-de-sac.  Shaken, but uninjured, Jack and Doc climb out of the wreckage.

JACK:  “Quick, Doc, let’s get over against the buildings where there’re deep shadows!”

Waiting silently for the sound of the other car, the detectives press themselves against the brick wall.  There is absolute quiet.  But then they see movement.  A person is feeling his way along the wall on the other side of the alley.  The figure passes by, approaching the wrecked car.  Jack and Doc seize the opportunity to sneak out through the entrance to the narrow street.  It is then that they hear the sound of a car engine idling and see a figure behind the wheel of the black automobile.

DOC:  “Well, that’s too bad for him.  We gotta have a car, don’t we?  We can’t get to no freight yard in time unless we got us a car.”

Doc circles behind the automobile.  When he is in place, Jack coughs.

VOICE:  “That you, Bud?”

Doc slugs the driver behind the ear.  He’s out cold.  They slide his body out onto the sidewalk, leap into the car, and race to the freight yards.

DOC:  “Gonna have to keep our peepers open for the Yard Dicks.  They’re tough babies these days.”

The two climb over a high fence, after Jack throws his coat over the barbed wire at top.  They drop down on the other side of the fence.  Suddenly, the detectives are covered by the glare of a blinding light.  A streamliner whizzes by, its bright head lamp illuminating the scene.

DOC:  “Whew!  That was a surprise!”

JACK:  “Come on, Doc.  We don’t have much time.  We’ve got to find the freight car with the triple X on its side!” 

MUSIC:  (Organ, “Valse Triste”)

 

EPISODE  2  (Friday August 31, 1951)

[The script for Episode 2 is missing.  From the other episodes, the following scenario is deduced]:

Jack and Doc locate the freight car marked with a triple X.  While waiting in a dark nearby shed, they are met by an undercover government agent accompanied by a small person dressed as a hobo. In the faint moonlight, the agent reveals that the other person is a beautiful young Chinese-American girl.

The agent explains that the detectives’ mission is to take her safely back to her home in San Francisco. As all other transportation modes are being watched by enemy agents, the three must pretend to be hoboes and travel by freight train.  The assignment is extremely dangerous, as several men have already died during the girl’s escape from Manchuria to Korea to Australia to Mexico and finally to Los Angeles.  He declares that enemy agents have persistently tried to kill her, and undercover men for the United States Government have been just as determined to protect her.

They hear the sound of the train getting ready to pull out of the freight yards, and all go out of the shed into the night.  Just as the three “hoboes” start  to run toward the box car, an unknown assailant leaps out of the darkness, stabs the government agent, and as Jack and Doc try to overpower him, manages to flee.

With his final dying words, the agent tells Jack to take his hat, pointing inside it.  As they hear the train whistle, the agent motions them to leave, and dies. 

Jack, Doc, and the girl leap aboard the box car, just as the train begins to move.  As they settle into a place away from the open door, Jack fumbles under the band of the agent’s hat, pulling out a small wad of paper.  In the dim moonlight, he reads the words:  “Lee Taw Ming.  The Girl in the Gilded Cage.  To Number Two, Tay Alley, Chinatown, San Francisco.”

Suddenly, Doc senses that they are not alone in the box car.  Another person is crouching in the dark corner.  While Jack and the girl talk, Doc crawls around the individual and knocks him down.  In the ensuing struggle, a gun goes off, and the intruder is killed.  They move his body to the far corner, and sit down deep inside the car where they can’t be seen from outside.   The train picks up speed and, leaving the freight yards, heads north toward San Francisco.

As the train speeds into the desert north of Los Angeles, Jack and Doc try to find out more information from Lee Ming, who says she was born and raised in San Francisco, where her family lives at Number Two, Tay Alley.  But she insists she has no idea why enemy agents are after her and trying to kill her.

Just then, a man swings down from the top of the box car and into the open doorway.  The three “hoboes” immediately fall flat on their stomachs, as they see the silhouette of the figure crouching in the doorway with a big revolver in his fingers.

MUSIC:  (Organ, “Valse Triste”)

 

EPISODE   3  (Monday September 3rd, 1951)

SOUND:  (Clock strikes Ten) 

ANNOUNCER:  It’s ten o’clock at night, somewhere north of Mojave, rocking and swaying in an empty box car of a hard, fast-pounding freight train racing toward the San Francisco Bay via the Inland Route.  Jack and Doc lie flat on their stomachs, watching the silhouette of the crouched figure in the doorway.  Between them is lying Lee Taw Ming, a tiny and young Chinese-American girl, who is mystified by the desperate interest in her.  Her people and the U.S. Government are trying to save her life, while unknown agents are attempting to destroy her.  Two men have already died tonight because of her.  She whimpers, almost silently.

JACK (whispering): Are you all right, Lee Ming? 

She nods.

DOC (whispering):   Our new little friend up yonder ain’t moved a muscle.

JACK:   He knows we’re back here….He’s trying to hear something that will give him a line on us….

Jack decides to try to wriggle past the crouched figure to the other end of the car and to jump him from behind.  To distract the man, Jack takes off his shoe and tosses it to the other end of the car.  The man responds by firing three revolver shots toward the sound of the shoe hitting.

LEE MING:  He wants to kill me, doesn’t he? 

DOC:   He’s still just listening.  He doesn’t know which end of the car we’re in now.  What I ought to do is blast him right out the door of the car. 

LEE MING:  Yes, because he will try to kill you too. 

DOC:   Yeah, but me and Jack’s got a thing that killin’ folks is the EASY way of doin’ a detective’s job.  We figure ANYBODY can blast a guy, but it takes real guts and brains to do a job right. 

Jack finally gets into place, and both men jump the intruder.  Knocking him out, they take his gun and tie him up tightly.  Soon, the man wakes up.  

JACK:   Ever see this man before, Lee Ming? 

LEE MING:   No, I have not.  He is evil, no? 

The train slows down to cross a trestle.  The gunman is pulled to his feet.  Doc wants to beat him up for trying to kill them.   Suddenly, the mug yells:  “So long, suckers!” and leaps through the car door.

He screams, as he realizes he is falling over the trestle into a deep canyon.  In a few moments, the train crosses the trestle and stops abruptly. 

DOC:   Oh, oh!  There’s 5 or 6 men coming alongside the track toward our car!  They got lanterns and stuff! 

Jack, Doc, and Lee Ming leap from the train, running into the desert.  They duck behind some sagebrush. 

JACK (panting):  Those guys…must be the train crew…must have seen the gunman jump out.

After examining the box car, the train crew returns to its post, and the train slowly pulls away.  The trio wonders how they are going to get out of the desert in the middle of the night.  But Doc spots a light from the window of a house a few hundred yards away.  They approach the house and see that it is just a run-down shack. 

JACK:   You two wait here.  I’ll go up on the porch and see what the prospects are. 

The boards creak as Jack goes cautiously up the two steps to the wooden porch.  He raps on the door. It slowly opens. 

JACK:   Doc? 

DOC:   Yeah, Jack. 

JACK:   I knocked, and the front door opened….but there’s nobody here. 

MUSIC:  (Organ, “Valse Triste”)

 

EPISODE  4  (Tuesday September 4th, 1951) 

SOUND:  (Clock strikes Ten) 

ANNOUNCER:  Ten o’clock on a mild California night on the rickety porch of a tumbled down shack isolated in the wasteland somewhere north of the Mojave desert.  Jack Packard and Doc Long have been commissioned to protect the tiny eighteen-year-old Chinese-American girl, Lee Taw Ming, and deliver her safely to Number 2, Tay Alley, San Francisco.  Three men have died because of her, for since her escape from Manchuria the enemy has never given up trying to bring an end to her, and undercover men for the U.S. government have been just as determined to protect her.  Jack and Doc tried bringing her north in a freight car, but this ruse was found out and they were forced to abandon the train in the barren isolation north of Mojave.  They found their way to the porch of the only habitat visible in the night, to find it a miserable unkempt hovel.  There was a light in the window, but no one about. 

DOC:  Will you say that again, Jack? 

JACK (shrugs):  Look for yourself…I knocked and the door was unlatched.  It swung open, but there’s no one inside. 

DOC:  You’re joking…. 

JACK:  Well, there it is…. 

DOC:  One of them haunted houses you read about, huh. 

JACK (amused):  Do haunts leave coal oil lamps burning in the window? 

DOC:  What you prob’ly done was rap on the door and it wasn’t latched good and it jes’ open of its own accord. 

JACK:  No, the door knob turned… 

DOC:  Then, there’s got to be somebody inside.  So why don’t we romp in and introduce ourselves… 

Lee Ming objects to their intruding.  Jack hesitates too, but finally agrees to go in. 

DOC:  Now you’re talkin’…..Honest to my grandma, it’s getting so’s it takes us more time to make up our minds than a hummin’ bird with a nervous breakdown. 

They enter.  Lee Ming hears something.  Doc decides to investigate.  A man suddenly appears. 

CECIL:  You don’t need to bother, chum. 

He points two revolvers at the three intruders.  Jack and Doc converse with Cecil, who says he is hiding out from the law in the shed outdoors.  Afraid of the strangers, he threatens to shoot them.  Jack makes a point of whispering to Lee Ming to move aside.  When Cecil’s guard is down, and on a signal from Jack, the two men jump Cecil, overpower and disarm him.

 JACK:  Put your hands behind you. 

CECIL (terrified):  I….I don’t want to be tied up! 

JACK (angry): I said, Put your hands behind you! 

CECIL (starting to cry):  “But I hate being tied….I can’t stand it!” 

DOC:  Lookee, put your hands behind you before I turn you inside out! 

CECIL (sobbing weakly):  I’m lost….I’m lost. 

After Cecil is tied up, Doc looks around the place.  Outdoors he finds a motorcycle with a side car. Cecil admits he stole it in San Francisco.  Continuing his search, Doc discovers a door off to the side. Opening it, he finds the dead body of an older woman.  Although Cecil denies killing her, Jack and Doc tie him down more securely and decide to telephone the sheriff from the first town they come to. Jack gets on the motorcycle saddle, while Doc climbs into the side car and Lee Ming sits on his lap. 

JACK:  Next stop…San Francisco! 

MUSIC:  (Organ, “Valse Triste”)

 

EPISODE  5  (Wednesday September 5th 1951) 

SOUND:  (Clock strikes Six)

ANNOUNCER:  Six o’clock in the cool velvety pre-dawn darkness of a new day.  Jack Packard, Doc Long, and Lee Taw Ming are driving swiftly by motorcycle on the inland highway somewhere north of Fresno, California. 

As they speed along, Doc notices a sedan parked along the almost deserted highway. 

DOC:  Ain’t that the car that passed us back yonder, 10 or 15 minutes ago?  That’s the second time it’s passed us, and then let us pass it. 

The three suspect that Lee Ming’s enemies are back on the trail to kill her and have found out their location when Jack phoned the sheriff to turn in Cecil, who killed the old lady who lived in the shack.  Doc fears there’s a trap ahead. 

DOC (perturbed):  I got an uneasy feelin’ SOMETHIN’S waiting for us up ahead…and that somethin’s TROUBLE.  And what chance does a man have here in this bathtub on wheels with my legs all cramped up and my shootin’ guns down underneath me and with Lee Ming, here, snugged up on my lap?  Trouble could come along side and spit in my eye and I couldn’t so much as lift my pinky! 

Doc is right, as they suddenly spot two automobiles barring the road ahead.  Jack speeds up the motorcycle. 

JACK  (hollering above the engine noise):   We’re going through the barrier! 

DOC:  “Put your arms around my neck and hang on, honey!  Yippeeee….here we go!

They crash through the barrier, but the motorcycle engine stops.  Shots are fired at the trio.  After repeated tries, Jack restarts the engine, and the motorcycle moves forward.  But, Doc yells that the side car is wobbling loose.  Jack guns it, and speeds off into the desert to escape.  A tire blows, and the motorcycle stops again.  In the half-darkness, the pursuing assassins in their automobiles disappear down the highway without spotting the cyclists. 

The three see the lights of a town, 2 or 3 miles away, which they identify as Tracy, California.  Jack decides they had better walk across the desert, but Doc wants to hitch a ride on the highway. 

JACK:  Look, Doc, those men want Lee Ming pretty bad and when they don’t catch up with us ahead, they’re going to back-track and patrol this highway until we wouldn’t have a chance.

As they walk toward Tracy, the three come across a side road.  In the half-light, they spot a farmer going toward town in a wagon loaded with hay.  The three leap into the wagon, covering themselves with hay, so they can’t be seen from the road.  The farmer is unaware of his passengers.  

In a few minutes an automobile coming the other way pulls directly in front of the wagon.  One of the men, with a German accent, asks the farmer if he has seen two men and a girl.  The farmer angrily replies no, but the man in the car shakes his head in disbelief. 

MAX (loudly barking orders):  Wilhelm!  Otto!  Get on top of that hay and have a good look around! 

MUSIC: (Organ, “Valse Triste”)


So ends the first 5 episodes, of the first week of this "lost" story. The second week's worth of episodes, #6-10, follows.