Death Aboard The Lady Mary


Synopsis created by
Richard Bauman
November 14, 1992


Jack Packard    Michael Raffetto
Doc Long    Barton Yarborough
Reggie York Walter Paterson
Captain Jenkins

Episode 16  -  February 6, 1939        5 am

Jack, Doc and Reggie have left the town of Roxy and have taken passage aboard the freighter, "The Lady Mary."

We find them in their cabin off the  coast of California, bound for San Pedro.  They talk about the ship, which is in pretty shabby condition and the Captain, Jenkins.

In spite of all the action in Roxy, lack of sleep and the early hour, Doc is feeling feisty.  They go up on deck to get some fresh air and enjoy the sunrise.  A Mate shows up and wants them to swab the decks.  Jack tries to explain their "passenger" status, but the Mate simply threatens them with "the brig."  Things escalate and Reggie decks the man.

They talk about the fix that they are in.  They decide to take the man, unconscious, to the Captain.  The Captain asks what happened and they tell him.  He blusters and threatens.

Episode 17  -  February 7, 1939        7 pm

The boys have returned to their cabin after their confrontation with Captain and crew.  All day they have waited for the Captain to "make fish
fodder of them."  So  far they seem to be ignored.

Jack thinks Jenkins is biding  his time.  Jack and Doc go up on deck and leave the kid to sleep.  The Mate, Foster passes by, but also ignores them.  Jack returns to the cabin for his pipe.  Doc hears a girl sobbing and talking about dying!

Jack returns and Doc tells him he heard a girl say, "If they kill you, what will become of me?" and "You musn't die!"  Jack makes fun of him and says he must be hearing things.

The Captain and the Mate arrive.  The  Mate accuses them of snooping.  Jack calls him a liar.  The Mate pulls a gun.  The Captain
tells him to put it away.  The Captain threatens them again and Doc baits him with Reggie and his fighting abilities.

Reggie arrives and the Captain  offers to fight Reggie.  If Reggie wins, they get free passage.  If he loses, they have to work on the crew.  Reggie agrees against Jacks  advice.  The  fight will be at sunup the next day, on the deck.

At this point Doc asks if there are any women on board.  The Captain says, "That settles it, these three don't leave this ship alive!"

Episode 18  -  February 8, 1939        6 am

The three comrades are on deck for the fight.  Jack is really mad at Doc for getting them into this position.  Reggie is confident.

Jack has some oil to grease Reggie.  He explains sea-fighter tactics and tries to prepare Reggie.  They talk about the Captains reaction to Doc's question about women.  They review what Doc said he heard on deck and recall the FBI agents warning about The Lady Mary.

The Captain and his First and Second Mate arrive.  The Captain says there will be no rules in the fight.  He has ordered all the ordinary seamen below.

The fight begins.  The Captain lunges and misses.  They slug it out.  The Captain begins to get the worst of Reggie's fists and pulls a knife.  Jack and Doc move forward but the mates pull guns and cover them.  Things look bad for Reggie.

Episode 19  -  February 9, 1939        6 am

Jenkins slashes at Reggie and he retreats.  Jack and Doc are stymied and conclude that the whole plan has been to kill all of them.  Reggie still avoids Jenkins and backs toward a corner.

As Jenkins closes in for the kill, Reggie leaps up and kicks him in the face, decking him.  Reggie  grabs the knife.  Jenkins yells to his mates to shoot Reggie.  Jack points a gun (!) at the mates and tells them he will drill them if they do.  Reggie throws the knife overboard and challenges Jenkins to slug it out.  While they reingage, Doc asks about  the gun.  Jack says that a hand reached around the cabin and offered it to him.

The battle rages and Jenkins tries to throw Reggie overboard.  Reggie fights him off and slams him into the rail.  Jenkins is out, but Reggie also drops from the effects of the blows.  Both are out cold.

The mate tries to get the gun away from Jack with threats, but he is having none of it.  The two parties gather up their gladiators and take them
to their cabins.  Jack disinfects and bandages Reggie's wounds and they put him to bed.

Suddenly they hear a girls voice saying, "We must protect ourselves or die!"  Then, "Kill the Captain or he'll kill you."  Doc says that that is the same voice that he heard on deck.

Episode 20  -  February 10, 1939        3 pm

Jack and Doc have left Reggie in the cabin, still sleeping and are out on deck discussing their situation.  They marvels over Reggie's fighting abilities.  They think about making Reggie a prize fighter when they get to shore.

Jack isn't so sure they are going to make shore.  Doc asks about the gun, but Jack didn't see the person that handed it to him.  They also discuss the "ghost girl" now that Jack has heard her too.

The ships cook, an Italian named Antonio comes by and stops to talk to them.  He has been on the ship
two years.

Doc, against Jack's warning, asks him if the ship is haunted.  He tells Antonio that he has heard a girl's voice.  This spooks the cook and he tries to leave, but Doc puts the pressure on him and demands to know if a girl has been killed on the ship.  Antonio admits that a girl was killed on the "lasta trip."

Suddenly, a gun shot rings out and the cook falls dead!  Jack says, "Now Doc, are you satisfied?"

Episode 21  -  February 13, 1939        4 pm

The cook is dead and Jack and Doc crouch against the cabin wall to avoid the gunman.  Doc sticks his hat on a stick and holds it out to see if he is still there.  The hat is blasted away!

They quickly move into their cabin out of range.  Reggie is still sleeping like a baby.  They discuss their situation and Jack blames Doc for the cooks death.  Every time Doc asks about ghost girls someone gets killed.  They try to plan a strategy.  Jack thinks they can join with the crew against the officers.

There is a knock on the door and it is Captain Jenkins.  He orders them out and asks about Reggie.  He checks to see that Reggie isn't playing possum, but leaves him alone.  Jenkins next demands to know what they have done with the cook.  Jack accuses Jenkins of shooting him, but Jenkins denies it and says if he was going to kill someone he wouldn't do it with a gun.  He demands to know what they have done with the cooks body.  They say they don't know and Jack notices a pieceof paper pinned to the wall by their door.  It is a poem:

    Somebody killed the Italian cook,
    His names wrote down in my little book.
    He killed the cook now he's got to die,
    I'll shoot him in his dirty eye.

The Captain accuses them of the murder and they argue.  Suddenly a shot rings out!  They rush down the deck and find a body.

It is Mr. Foster, the mate and he has been shot through the eye!

Episode 22  -  February 14, 1939        8 pm

The boys are in their cabin discussing developments.  Reggie has recovered and is ready to go another round.  They fill him in on the events of
the day.  They think it is clear to him that they did not kill Foster, so there is a murderer loose on the ship.

Doc tells Reggie about his "ghost girl."  Suddenly they all hear her voice, "I want revenge....I want to see Captain Jenkins hanged..."  "Oh, why doesn't someone come to our help"......"We're so alone."  Then they hear no more.

Jack says that that settles it.  They need to search the ship.  Doc thinks it is the ghost of the murdered girl and she wants revenge.  Jack doesn't buy it.  He thinks there is a natural explanation.  They decide to make a secret search.

Jack goes out  to see if there room is being watched.  Reggie and Doc talk.  Suddenly there is a pounding on the door.  They open it and find Jack with an unconscious man.  Jack has found him at the door and knocked him out.  Jack also found a piece of paper pinned to the door.  It is a new poem:

    This is the death ship Lady Mary,
    Foster and Cook and Little Jerry.
    Look in the hold at the cargo we carry,
    How many more are we gonna bury.

Episode 23  -  February 15, 1939        8 pm

The boys discuss the poem.  Doc thinks "little Jerry" is the ghost girl.  They wonder if the unconscious sailor is the one who gave him the gun
during the fight.  It was so dark outside that the sailor might have thought Jack was one of the officers.

The sailor comes to.  He is Lefty Snivens and he says he didn't give Jack any gun or anything else.  They conclude they have the wrong man.  He admits the Captain put him outside to watch their door.  He tells them from his spot he saw a shadow go to their door, stop for a minute and then move away.  When he went to see what was there, Jack grabbed him and knocked him out.

They decide to let him go, but first Doc asks him if the ship is haunted.  Jack again warns Doc to lay off that subject.  Doc can't be discouraged and tells about hearing a girls voice.  Lefty freaks out at this and wants to leave.  He opens the  door and says, "If the Lady Mary is haunted, its no more than is to be expected."

A shot  rings out and Snivens falls to the deck!

Episode 24  -  February 16, 1939        9 pm

They pull Snivens inside and check him.  He is still breathing.  He just has a scalp crease and has been knocked out by the concussion.

They try to decide why the Captain would be killing his own men and not just kill them? Doc points out that Jenkins has tried to kill them and has failed so far.

Doc is restless for action and feels he can leave the cabin and check up on things.  Jack tells him to wait until daylight since the sniper may still be
out there.  But, Doc is determined and goes out.  Jack and Reggie wait for Snivens to come to so they can question him further.  Reggie hears a
noise at the door.  They put out their light before opening up and they find a body there.

They drag it in, turn on the light and find it is not Doc.  It is a sailor with a cord around his neck strangling him.  They cut the cord and are able to get him breathing again.  They frisk the sailor and find a gun, with one shot fired.  They conclude that he is the one who shot at Snivens.

They find a paper pinned to his coat.  It is another poem:

    This is the man who fired the shot,
    Fired the bullet Snivens got.
    Death to him and the Captain too,
    Who captured Doc Long at Nine Twenty-two.

Episode 25  -  February 17, 1939        10 pm

Jack and Reggie are ready to head for Jenkin's cabin to try to rescue Doc. They leave and head down the deck in the pitch dark.  They run into
someone and Reggie knocks him out .  They know it isn't Doc and so they leave him lying on the deck.

On the way, Jack stumbles over another body on the deck. Jack determines that the man is alive and this also isn't Doc.  They leave
him as well and continue on to Jenkins cabin.

Reaching it they find the door locked.  They pound on it but there is no answer.  They decide Doc may be tied up and gagged inside so they break down the door.  They find that no one is there.  They talk about what to do next and decide they had better check the hold.

A gun shot is heard in the distance.  Whoever is shooting in not shooting at them.  They go back to their cabin to find the door broken open. The second sailor is gone, but Snivens is still there.  In the dark, Jack finds a knife buried in his chest...

Really worried for Doc they decide they had better head for the hold.

Suddenly they hear the "ghost girl" again, "Captain Jenkins is a beast."  "Why doesn't someone kill him?"

Episode 26  -  February 20, 1939        10 pm

Jack and Reggie start toward the hold to try to rescue Doc.  They see someone climbing over the rail, apparently out of the sea!

Creeping closer,they discover it is Doc.  He tells them he was thrown into the sea by the Captain and the Mate.  However, as he hit the water, someone threw a rope right down on top of him and he was able to grab it and pull himself back aboard.

They fill him in on the latest developments.  They definitely decide that their next move is to check the hold.  They go back to their cabin so that
Doc can change into dry clothes.  Doc says he senses someone in their cabin.

Jack orders the person to come out.  There is no response, so Jack and Doc go in leaving Reggie to guard the door.  The person gets by them, slugs
Reggie and escapes.  Reggie is convinced it must have been the Captain, because no one else could hit like that.

When they check they discover that Snivens body is gone...

Episode 27  -  February 21, 1939        11 pm

Doc quickly changes his clothes.  They decide to leave Reggie on deck in a protected spot, with both of the pistols.  This way he can fasten the
hatch after them so Jenkins wont suspect they are below and also let them out later.

They open the hatch and descend.  Jack has a flashlight that he took from Jenkins cabin.  Doc doesn't like the dark hold and Jack teases him
about being afraid.  Doc is indignant.  They explore and eventually hear the "ghost girl" say, "Oh, why don't they kill us and get it over with?"

Jack call out, "Where are you?"  The girl says, "Right where you left us!"  We're dying anyway, why don't you get it over with quickly."  Jack calls out, "Keep talking."  They hear the girls say, "It's horrible, horrible."

Episode 28  -  February 22, 1939        11 pm

In the hold of the ship Jack and Doc have come upon three people.  Two girls and a middle-aged man.  They are bound hand and foot.  The man is

Marcia is a French maid.  Lita Anderson is the daughter of the unconscious man, Franklin Anderson, the lumber baron.

Jack tells the girls that they can't take them above right now because of the Captain and his men.  He reassures Lita about her father.  Doc, of course, is interested in the French maid.

Lita explains that they had been with her father while he visited one of his offices at the dock in Seattle, ten days ago.  They were on the wharf, after dark, when Jenkins and Foster came up behind them and captured them.  They rowed to the ship and were put in the hold where theyhad been kept ever since.  Jack tells them that someone above decks had been helping them.

Lita tells him that they had found a poem in a sandwich several days ago.  They find the poem and read it:

    The Lady Mary's a craft,
    With danger fore and aft.
    But keep up your hope,
    We'll give 'em enough rope,
    To hang themselves on this raft.

Looking around Jack sees how Lita was the ghost girl.  She was lying directly under a ventilator shaft, which carried sound up through pipes in and
near their cabin.

Doc continues to cozy up to Marcia.  Jack tells him to cut it out.  Jack explains to Lita and Marsha how they got into this situation.

At this point Jenkins appears with a drawn gun and says that he will kill them all!

Episode 29  -  February 23, 1939        11 pm

Doc tried to enrage Jenkins and get him to drop his guard a little so they can jump him.

Jenkins is into a little psychological torture and asks each of them to have their say before he shoots them.  Marcia gives him hell. Lita pleads and at this point, a shot rings out and Jenkins is shot.

Jenkins is hit in the shoulder but not out so Doc slugs him and they recover his gun.  Lita has fainted.

Jack goes into the dark hold to find the mysterious shooter.  Marcia offers to tie up Jenkins wound.  While she does this Doc
continues to try to romance her.  They also tie Jenkins up in case he regains consciousness.

Jack returns and tells them that he has found out who the shooting poet is.

Episode 30  -  February 24, 1939

The Lady Mary looks like a hospital ship.  There are bodies on cots all over the deck.  This includes the still unconscious Jenkins, who is tied to
his cot.  They are three hours from port and the boys are talking with the Second Mate, McGurdy.

Jack has found he is the mysterious poet.  He shot Jenkins to save them.  He also tried to slip Doc a rope in the dark when Doc was thrown overboard.  Since he couldn't he just threw it down toward him and Doc had luckily found it.

McGurdy wrote in verse for protection.  He didn't think the Captain would ever suspect one of his officers of writing poetry. He shot Foster after the First Mate had killed the cook.  A sailor friend of his had slipped Jack the gun, while he and Foster were holding guns on Jack and Doc during the fight.

McGurdy had signed on for revenge.  The "Jerry" in one poem was his sister.  She had traveled to L.A. on the Lady Mary because it was cheap.  The Captain and Foster claimed she had thrown herself overboard as a suicide, but McGurdy believed she had been murdered.  He found out
about the Anderson party about 3 days out of Seattle.  He was trying to decide how to save them when the boys came on board in Roxy.

Jack questions McGurdy about Jenkins.  He wonders if Jenkins had always  been like this?

McGurdy believes that the fight with Reggie knocked something loose and turned him into a maniac.  The bodies they had found unconscious on the deck were Jenkins own sailors that he had bashed before heading to the hold to confront them.  McGurdy tells them that a police launch is coming to meet them. He contacted them by wireless.  One was hidden in the Captain's cabin.

Marcia calls Doc  over.  He tries to make time with her.  She tells him that Anderson, who is in the Captain's Cabin, wants to see them.  Doc calls
Jack and Reggie and they argue about going.  They think Anderson may want to give them some reward for saving his party.  They all arrive at the cabin and meet Franklyn Anderson.

He thanks them and offers them a job.  He says it is dangerous, and five men have already been killed.

Doc thinks this is just their kind of fun!


This story was especially interesting to me as I had a step-great grandfather named Anderson who had a lumber business in Aberdeen,
Washington at about this time.  I wonder if Morse used his name.