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Murder Hollywood Style

 

Week #3 of 3.

 


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

The synopsis is written by Brian Christopher Misiaszek, original material copyright 1999.


Episode 11: August 23rd, 1951

SOUND Clock strikes 1 o'clock.

Lindy has disappeared from the secret room, one with no visible exit!

Jack, Doc and Reggie search the room carefully, trying to ferret out the means of her escape, but are unsuccessful in finding any secret panel or any other visible means of exit.

Doc is still most curious about the desk and the intricate periscope spy-device, and sits behind the desk, his lanky legs folded and his blue eyes riveted to the sight of different views of interior rooms of the house, views that change with the simple turn of a dial. He is also inordinately curious about the "death" button Lindy warned them not to push. He moves his hand over as if to push it, only to be forcibly restrained by Jack and Reggie!

Despite Doc’s protests, the others haul him out of the chair, and Jack takes his place. Again using the spy-scope, this time with care and deliberation, the Three Comrades systematically look through the various rooms of the house one by one, until they spot Greylin, this time in the main floor powder room!

Standing close to the sink and mirror, they see him calmly applying iodine to the left chest injury he had sustained earlier that evening, then carefully reapply the dressing that Jack had earlier tied on. The deliberate and assured manner of his self First-Aid is in sharp contrast to the frantic cries for help that the three of them had heard earlier…

Anxious to get out of the room now, Jack leaves the secret room by means of the smashed hole in the wall. He heads back down the locked corridor in order to see if there was a possible secret exit from there. Before he leaves, however, he explicitly tells Reggie and Doc not to touch any more of the "special effects" buttons and switches located on the combination control panel and desk. In particular, not to touch the button Lindy had told them was the death switch, before she vanished from the room.

But Doc, being Doc, can’t leave enough alone. Not only is his curiosity blazing, but he is still looking for a way to redeem himself for the earlier boners he pulled that evening with the inflatable water toy, and later with the sausage. As soon as Jack is out of sight, and out of earshot, he muses aloud to Reggie:

DOC: Just the same, would Jack be good and surprised if I was to call him in and they’s a nice big door open for us to leave by…and him a-lookin’ all over for one…an ME finding it by doin’ somethin’ the master-mind didn’t think about?" SOUND (Reggie's tapping stops)

REGGIE: Doc! Leave that button alone!

DOC: Here she goes, Reggie!

REGGIE: Doc! DON'T DO IT!!!

DOC: (Chuckles) Too late now, son!

REGGIE: Doc, Don't! You crazy fool!

SOUND (Hellish explosion...crashing tumbles...glass...blending into)

MUSIC (Organ, "Valse Triste")

Episode 12: August 24th, 1951

SOUND Clock strikes 2 o'clock.

The deadly explosion from the previous episode is still thundering and shuddering its way to completion!

As the dust and debris finally settle, Jack is heard calling for the others, and shouts that the explosion must have knocked out the lights. He clambers into the darkened, chaos strewn room, choked now with broken lumber, bricks, plaster and other assorted detritus.

At first, there is no reply to Jack’s shouts to the others. Reggie is finally heard coughing, and Jack helps him to his feet, brushing off plaster and such.

Together they wonder; is Doc still alive? Levering some fallen building materials out of the way, they find their red-headed Texas friend. He isn’t hurt, it turns out, but when the light switch is turned on again:

JACK: And I told you not to----I----(burst of laughter) Reggie! Reggie! Look at Doc!

REGGIE: (Looks) Oh, I say! (Burst of laughter)

DOC: (Pause) Well....evidently something's funny. What's a-matter with me that I---hey---WHUR'S MY PANT'S AT?

REGGIE: (Still laughing) Doc, you look all the world like a bloomin' beach comber! No trousers to speak of, your tie turned around backwards...and (laughs) that eye!

DOC: What's the matter with my eye, shiner?

JACK: Shiner? You've got two of the prettiest black eyes I've ever hope to see!

The explosion has cracked and shattered the integrity of the secret room, and has created another opening which they proceed to cautiously clamber through. Making their escape from this death trap, they head up the stairs of the Greylin mansion, discussing their options as they so so.

Arriving on the main level of the enormous house, and moving up the main front stairs, they suddenly notice the motionless silhouette of a person standing at the top of the stairs!

After a hurried discussion where it is decided that Reggie is to rush the mysterious person, a gunshot is suddenly heard. Simultaneously, the shadow abruptly folds and crumples to the floor. As the Three Comrades race up the flight of stairs, they hear rapid footsteps running off….

Panting, they reach the top of the stairs, where the body lies. To their horror, it is a young woman in a maid’s uniform, with crimson leaking from the front of her outfit. She had been fatally shot in the chest!

Helplessly, Jack does what little he can to staunch the terrible wound, while Doc runs after the footsteps, the loss of his pants not slowing him one bit! The footsteps fade, then suddenly stop, as Doc skids around one corner, and is confronted by three closed doors, all locked. Deciding quickly, he swiftly picks the lock of the first door of the trio, and finds someone he recognizes inside…

Parker, Greylin’s private secretary!

Despite Parker’s protestations of innocence, that this was his bedroom, etc., and that he knew nothing about anybody being shot, Parker is forcibly dragged off by a very fierce and determined Doc back to the head of the stairs where the girl had been shot.

Jack who had been leaning over her silent form on the floor, quietly tells them all that the girl has just died. He moves up and away from her face so Parker can identify her. Parker pales slightly, then says the girl they found shot was Flora, the upstairs Cockney maid. But he also claims that it was Flora who was behind the death plot against his employer!

PARKER: I've known for quite a while that this girl is the cause of all Mr. Greylin's distress...She is the one who sent the certain of the threatening notes. She is the one behind all the trouble. She did have an accessory, and I'll take care of him.

Asking that they move down the hallway a little, just enough to be out of unsettling view of the corpse, Parker goes on to claim, in his very fussy and irritating manner, that his employer Greylin was worried about all these threats of death and horrible ends for him. But now the girl is dead, and all will be better now.

PARKER: There will be no more death knells sung, no more of that weird hymn coming in from nowhere...this dead woman was...was the one who sang that hymn...it was she --what--that---WHAT'S THAT?

SOUND (The hymn coming faintly at first...gradually rising to full mike...and blending into)

MUSIC (Organ, "Valse Triste")

Episode 13: August 27th, 1951

SOUND Clock strikes 3 o'clock.

The strange song is heard once again, the eerie hymn coming from seemingly nowhere and everywhere! For several seconds, the tableaux is frozen, until the song fades into nothingness. Jack rouses first, and roughly questions Parker. Parker again protests his innocence. His dismay and fear shown at the unexpected an impossible reappearance of the strange "death knell" is unfeigned.

Under Parker’s protests, Jack has them go back to the dead body of the upstairs maid to look for clues. However, they have another nasty surprise when they arrive at the head of the stairs; Flora’s body was gone! Another vanishing!

They search about for a clue and find nothing. At the same time, they notice that all the hallway is now dimly lit, almost as if someone had sneaked on by and had turned them down to conceal their passage after they had grabbed the dead girls’ body.

Jack, Doc and Reggie all turn to and furiously question Parker, who clams up entirely. Knowing that Parker would be much more the expert at getting around the maze-like mansion than they would, Jack finally forces him to guide them around the house, to the electrical power room and also to the Library.

At first, Parker tries to play coy, saying that he can’t help them, since most of the doors of the Greylin mansion are locked. Not buying this story, and realizing that Parker was Greylin’s trusted right-hand man, they search him and turn up a fat set of keys! Subdued now, Parker leads them where they want to go.

The Library is closest. Parker moves to knock on the door, but Doc thwarts this attempt to possibly warn somebody inside. Parker suddenly starts to yell, and Doc clamps a strong hand over his mouth, silencing him. Jack and Reggie swiftly gag him, then tie Parker’s hands behind his back.

Certain that Parker can no longer warn anyone of their presence, the Three Comrades cautiously open the door of the Library, and peek in. Doc by this time has Lindy’s gun in his hand.

Amazed, they see Greylin inside, striding across the room with deliberation and strength! Watching him closely, they see him manipulating a lever in a cupboard. This causes a portion of a bookcase to swing back, revealing yet another secret room! Not realizing he is being watched, Greylin bends down and hoists something bulky into his arms.

DOC: (low) Hey, hey what that he's got in his arms?

JACK: What's the matter with your eyes? Give me that gun, Doc!

DOC: Yeah...here! We goin' in?

JACK: You bet were going in! Kick the door wide open!

SOUND (DOC'S BOOT KICKING DOOR ALL THE WAY BACK)

JACK: All right, Greylin! Stand right where you are, or I'll shoot! Doc...take that girl's body out of his arms!

DOC: Well, smack me for a baby! The girl's body! Makes a mighty neat bundle, don't she?

JACK: Watch it, Doc!

DOC: Hey, Jack! Mr. Greylin's tremblin' like a leaf!

JACK: If you were as near death as he is, you'd be trembling, too!

MUSIC (Organ, "Valse Triste")


Episode 14: August 28th, 1951

SOUND Clock strikes 4 o'clock.

David Greylin is caught red-handed in the very act of trying to hide the dead body of the girl, Flora!

Doc takes the dead girl’s limp but stiffening form gently in his arms while Jack grimly aims his weapon at the utterly silent, ashen faced, and trembling Greylin.

Reggie forces Greylin to sit down of the leather couch in the room, while Doc shuts the secret door Greylin had tried to enter just now. Parker, still gagged and tied, is set down next to Greylin on the couch, while Jack holds his gun on the two of them. Parker starts to heave and move violently, rolling his eyes, but a wave of Jack’s gun and a narrowing of his eye eventually stills him.

Greylin suddenly starts talking, or rather bluster. How dare they treat him this way? Don’t they realize who he is? That’s it, they’re all fired!

Jack ignores this futile agitated jabbering and is on the verge of calling the police, when Greylin starts to talk, or more accurately, to boast!

GREYLIN: I'm going to tell you boys some things that will open your eyes...Just some things. (Biting) All this reputation you've worked up. Soldiers of fortune. Modern musketeers. Cleaning up mysteries from Texas to Madagascar! Well, wait until I've told you a thing or two.

JACK: All right, we're waiting.

GREYLIN: Well, this whole thing is just sort of a gag. I HATE you grown up boy scouts! I set out to make fools of all of you...it's just a big joke!

Jack points out that the murder of the girl, Flora, is no joke or gag. He also says he knows that Greylin is obviously stalling for time! But why? And for what purpose?

Jack waits patiently with the others for Greylin to continue, but Greylin remains silent.

The pause lengthens, and becomes intolerable. Jack, suddenly very very fearful, leans over to Greylin and Parker to confirm his worst fears. He’s right! Both men are dead!

REGGIE: Jack! Jack! Do you mean they're...dead?

JACK: Yes, they are dead.

DOC: Whaatt??

JACK: That's right. Look here. Greylin had his hand behind Parker, see?

REGGIE: Why...he was holding on to him all the time he was talking.

DOC: Well, how did...what...who done it?

JACK: Greylin. Greylin sat right here and talked to us...and he got Parker, first. See this?

REGGIE: Hypodermic needle...

JACK: That's right...he was injecting some kind of poison into Parker...and talking to us at the same time.

DOC: Well, I'll be derned...knowed all the time that he'd only be here a few minutes...

As Doc and Reggie are still trying to adjust to this sudden tragic turn of events, Jack springs into furious action; this wasn’t the end to it, by any means! There was a very great deal to be done in the Greylin mansion before dawn arrived!

Doc and Reggie look at one another, and then back at Jack. They both wonder out loud, what?

JACK: I mean we're going to take those keys we took from Parker...and were going right through this house. We're going to find out who was calling for help...and were are going to look in every secret place in this building.

DOC: Tonight?

JACK: Tonight. And were are going to start with that secret panel. I have a hunch we're on the trail of that woman who sang Greylin's death knell.

DOC: Son, that there's ONE female I'd jest as soon NOT meet!

MUSIC (Organ, "Valse Triste")

Episode 15: August 29th, 1951

SOUND: Clock strikes 5 o'clock.

Murder and suicide right under the very eyes of the Three Comrades! After the double tragedy, the three search the house; every room, every secret panel, every concealed room. It’s now Five am in the morning, and Jack, now with full understanding of the situation, is about the break the news to Greylin’s daughter, Lindy.

Jack, Doc and Reggie go up to Lindy’s bedroom, and awaken Lindy. After she lets them inside, and has them seated next to her in the adjoining parlor area, Jack haltingly tells Lindy her father is dead.

Lindy bursts into tears. After consoling the weeping girl, Jack continues with:

JACK: ...well...after your father had gone, we went through the house. We know now just what happened. But we don't know exactly WHY some of it happened. You can tell us later, if you wish. Your father went to a lot of trouble and expense to rig this house up...didn't he?

LINDY: Yes. At first, it was only a hobby...and I didn't pay any attention. I wasn't until a year ago that I realized that his hobby had taken such proportions...

Lindy thought her father had initially set up the house (while she was away at boarding school) with remote control gadgets and spy periscopes as a sort of practical joke to play on guests to the Greylin mansion. The so-called "death knell" was simply a recording disk on automatic players scattered throughout the house. The recordings could either be activated locally by hidden switches or else controlled from the secret control room in the basement of the house. There were also automatic record players with the sound Greylin’s voice calling frantically for help, along with other sound effects.

Lindy went on to explain that she thought her father’s obsession was but the manifestation of a growing mental illness. He had always had terrible mood swings, but these were becoming more frequent and wilder in character of late. Her father, despite being a Hollywood movie mogul, became almost a recluse inside his own home. Additionally, he was becoming more and more paranoid and delusional, thinking others were after his life. In keeping with this method to his madness, he began using the control room as a means to spy on his imaginary enemies. He even booby-trapped the room (despite her protests), and provided for multiple secret exits from it (which is how she escaped the room), and knew enough to warn them about the booby-trapped "death switch".

On returning from school and finding the situation in the terrible state it was, she was determined to find him some help for these delusions. Lindy almost had him convinced to see a psychiatrist, a Dr. Brooks, but her father simply refused once again.

Above all else, Lindy was afraid to have the police find out about her father’s bizarre behavior, delusions, and obsession with spying and remote control devices, which had been harmless up to then. She wanted her father in a hospital, not a jail! That’s why she had been so obstructionist and guarded with the truth when she met the three of them; she had thought they were plain clothed police detectives!

On her return home from finishing school, the only one she found she could fully trust was Tomlinson, with Parker being simply too fearful to go against her father. With the arrival of the Three Comrades, she had instructed Tomlinson, the giant of a chauffeur, to help her look like it was someone else who was the cause of all the strange things happening around the house, and not her father. It was Tomlinson who had slugged Doc on her command. And it was the burley chauffeur who had been ineffectively clobbered on the head by Doc with the sausage!

Lindy went on to say that her father’s secretary Parker, despite all his fears, was doing all he could to try and preserve his employers’ sanity. It was Parker who had realized that her father, in a moment of lucidity, had called in the Three Comrades when something in Greylin’s unconscious mind realized he was spiraling out of control, and needed help badly. That’s likely why Parker was so unhelpful to the three of them at first, and lied about Flora being behind it all. Alas, Parker later paid for his loyalty with death by poison injection. Wilkins, Flora, and the rest of the staff where simply too terrified of both losing their jobs and also the rage of their master when he got into one of his "moods" or "spells", and simply put up with matters as best they could.

LINDY: (Sobbing a little) I knew...I knew that father would either get well...or...or go out like that. He'd told me he would.

REGGIE: You mean to say that he had...more rational moments and realized he was...uh...going overboard a little?

LINDY: Yes. It was one of those moments that caused him to take his life that time at the swimming pool.

DOC: I wonder what he had planned to do to us at the pool. I remember you didn't want us to go near the place.

LINDY: I've no idea just what he planned...but I know it would be dangerous. I could always tell when he was in one of those dangerous moods. That's why I tried to keep you away.

She admits she almost told the three of them about her fears, especially after the episode with her father almost having killed Jack with his gun, but fear held her tongue. When her father pulled out the gun, she was simply too terrified to call out. The story she had eventually came up with as an explanation was simply a flimsy cover up, one designed to stall for time so that she could arrange for a private hospital for her father, and not have him dragged off to jail. Only now, with all the death and destruction, the police had to be notified…

Jack and the others reassure her that they will help her with all her dealings with the police.  They also also convince her to move out of the Greylin mansion, now a death-house. They call the police, and tell her they would wait there until they showed up. 

Bravely, Lindy thanks Jack, Doc and Reggie:

LINDY: When...when this is all over...call me...I want to see all three of you again...under different circumstances.

The music of Sibelius’s "Valse Triste" is heard at the closing chapter of this story, along with the announcer’s voice, stating that the next case for the Three Comrades would start next week, one called, "The Girl in the Gilded Cage."


I hope you’ve enjoyed this breakdown of this ILAM story which I generated from notes taken from the time I spent in the reading room of the Sound & Recording division of the US Library of Congress in May 1999. It took four and a half months to finally transcribe and elaborate on my notes, but it is finally done at last! ::Brian::