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THE GRAVES OF WHAMPERJAW, TEXAS

Week #2 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 6: Monday February 25th, 1952.


The clock strikes twelve midnight, and finds Doc lurking outside Mercedes' little cabin in back of the cafe after having hid out most of the day and evening from the raving Bradley and his deputized gang of thugs. Jack had earlier been caught and jailed by Bradley. Doc is desperate to find out what's been happening with Jack, Jerry and the others, and has decided to see if he can contact the girls. He begins to tap on the window, when without warning, a knife is suddenly held against his back!

It's Ramon, who quickly (and luckily!) recognizes Doc. Ramon pledges eternal friendship to the Texas contingent of the A-One Detective agency, for intervening on his behalf when Bradley viciously attacked Ramon earlier with his quirt. Ramon goes on with his earnest vow, it consisting of yards of purple passionate prose, finally finishing up with:

RAMON: Si, senor...for you I will cut out my heart.

DOC:    Well, that's nice, son...but I'll settle for some ham an' eggs!

Ramon sneaks Doc over into his sister Mercedes' cafe, rustles up some grub for Doc, and around mouthfuls of still warm chili, tells Doc about the layout of the local jail where Jack is being held. Whamperjaw's version of a jail is essentially nothing more than a guarded cabin with big locks and a little window, one too small to crawl out of. Finishing up his meal, Doc announces to Ramon his intention of rescuing Jack that very minute. Suddenly, Ramon notices something strange.

RAMON:    (astonished) Senor Long!

DOC:    What is it?

RAMON:    The pot of chili con carne! It is empty!

DOC:    Yeah...I et a little fast tonight.

RAMON:    What a big stomach you have, senor...

DOC:    Kin I help it? Come on, lets get on our horses!

They trot over in the dark moonless night to the back of the cabin where Jack is being held prisoner by the so called "Marshal", Buck Bradley. Ramon is told by Doc to simply stand off to the side and cough, thus providing a simple diversion. Ramon dutifully coughs, the guard whirls at the sound, and Doc socks the guard out, cold. They unlock the cabin door, and grab the happily surprised Jack, still fully dressed, and together lam it out of town.

On the road outside of Whamperjaw, Jack, Doc and Ramon decide to hide together in Ramon's old hideaway, in Squire Hootin's haymow. As they pass the Hootin farm house, they still see lights on in the Hootin farm house; Mrs. Hootin is still up long after midnight! At Jack's close questioning, Ramon shrugs; this is not at all an unusual occurrence. Mrs. Hootin was often up at all times of day and night, at least during all the time he used to work for the Hootin's.

As they approach closer, they also notice that she has a visitor, what with a stranger's horse tied up, and their saddle resting near the front door. Ramon identifies the saddle as belonging to Judge Abernathy. Why is he visiting her at this odd hour of the night? Curious, they creep up to the front parlor window to spy on events inside.

They see the sly appearing Abernathy talking to the plain looking giantess of Mrs. Hootin. Though they can't make out words, they see him gesture to a very formal looking paper lying there on the front room's table. Ramon suddenly realizes that the "Judge" is trying to turn a sale of land at the very moment. Trying to cheat Mrs. Hootin of her oil-rich property inherited from the dead Squire Hootin!

Jack and Doc manage to stop the frantic teenager from rushing in, and together they watch Mrs. Hootin slowly bend over the table, pen in hand. She is obviously bent on signing the formal document looking document, which could indeed represent a deed of sale.

Without warning, a shot rings out, shattering the stillness of the night as it crashes through the front palor window!

Judge Abernathy crumples across the parlor table in front of Mrs. Hootin, shot right through the head! The graveyard verse writer strikes again!

Episode 7: Tuesday February 26th, 1952.


The clock strikes one, and the scene cuts back to Mercedes' cafe, where Jerry and Mercedes wonder what's been going on with Jack, Doc and Ramon. Jerry is simply too excited and too worried to sleep. Mercedes admits she too is keyed up, so much so that she thought she had heard someone scratching at her cabin window an hour previously. It must have been her imagination, she adds, since no one would be calling on them at that time of night. Suddenly a menacing figure appears at their window!

It's Doc! He tells them that he's with Ramon, and the now rescued Jack with him, too! The girls are to hurry up and get dressed . . . "an come a-runnin'!" They all meet outside Mercedes' little cabin. Ramon excitedly starts to tell his older sister of the confusing events of that evening. Doc stops him and tells him to save it for later; they'll head over to Mercedes' more secluded cabin for their pow-wow, where all will soon be revealed.

As they arrive on the threshold, it is eloquently dark in the cabin, or as Doc put it, "Blackern' the inside of a witch's heart!" A candle is soon lit, and they all huddle together to hear Jack speak. Jack starts by recapping the story of what happened at the late Squire Hootin's farm house, where Judge Abernathy was killed by someone from the *outside* the farm house as the dull and plain Mrs. Hootin stood in the same room as Abernathy. Jack also outlined the awfully tight predicament he was now in.

JACK: Thing is...I'm accused of murder..and I've got to find out who the real murderer is before I get caught again and found guilty.

DOC: Found guilty?

JACK: Don't kid ourselves! If Bradley took the trouble to pull me in, he's got a ready-made jury for hire--or a neck-tie party!

Jack starts to make plans to hide out from Bradley and his gang. Mercedes would stockpile a supply of food for the fugitives from the law, while Doc was responsible for getting his cousin Winnie-Mae's help. Meanwhile, Jack's first goal was to check out the Whamperjaw graveyard for clues of the phantom killer, the person who digs graves for his intended victims and scrawls doggerel on the tombstones. And he was going to explore the darkened graveyard...tonight! Doc, Ramon and Jack would head out there, while the girls barricade themselves into the cabin. The boys would come back for Jerry and Mercedes later.

Through the blackness of the night, Jack, Doc and the teen-aged Ramon head towards the little Whamperjaw graveyard. As the pick their way carefully in the dark, walking over oil-pipelines, and walking through puddles and the shadows of oil derricks, they all speculate on who must be the guilty one. Ramon insists how Bradley *must* be the mysterious killer. However, Jack isn't so sure, and Doc doesn't know what to think. Before they know it, they are at the cemetery.

Jack notices the first new thing. The first grave--the one with the first mysterious verse that Ramon stumbled over--is now filled in! The second grave, the one indicated for Judge Abernathy, is still yawning open, still waiting for its dead namesake. Suddenly, Ramon starts shouting to the others:

RAMON: Look! Look what is here!

DOC:    For cryin' in the milk! Jack! Another open grave...a new one! Somebody dug another 'un!

As they are about to investigate closer and check out the tombstone to see if it too had a poetic inscription, Doc notices creeping figures in the cemetery. Creeping figures, coming closer their way!

The three duck down in the shadows of an oil derrick, but the mysterious figures come ever closer towards them. Shaking, Ramon cries out again:

RAMON:    (Fear) They creep, senor! They creep this way--I cannot tell if they are animals or men!

MUSIC: (Organ "Valse Triste")


Episode 8: Wednesday February 27th, 1952.


(Note: This is the first of the two circulating recordings of this broadcast.  The quoted portions have been transcribed to the best of my ability.)

SOUND: (Clock strikes Two)

ANNCR: Two o'clock in the morning, in the little cemetery on the edge of the boom-town of Whamperjaw, which is somewhere in Texas. Jack and Doc, fugitives from the law and trying to discover the identity of a murderer who digs graves and writes verses on the tombstone prophesying the death of his next victim, have come to the cemetery guided there by Ramon, brother of the Mexican girl, Mercedes. There are only five graves here--the fourth grave is open, awaiting the body of Judge Abernathy killed at midnight tonight by a bullet, exactly as the verse on the tombstone had promised. They had just discovered the last one, another newly dug grave with yet another verse (sound of a coyote howls in the distance, as the announcer continues) on the tombstone, and before they could read the verse, Doc spotted a crouching figure in the moonlight.

RAMON: (Frantic) Hey Senors...we must run...they are coming for us!

DOC: Whatcha mean, "They"?

JACK: Yeah he's right, Doc. There's two of them...there, see?

DOC: What do we do, take a pot shot at them? (pause, then surprised) Hey! For the love of Mike!

The creeping figures in the graveyard come closer...and Doc suddenly realized its none other than Jerry and Mercedes! Mercedes calls out, as the girls approach.

Furious with his relief, Jack starts to lay into Jerry, who hurriedly interrupts him.

She and Mercedes tell how Buck Bradley and some of his crew of plug-uglies, had earlier barged into Mercedes' cabin, looking for Jack! Bradley's guard had revived after being knocked out by Doc and went for Bradley and other members of the gang. Jack was then trailed by Bradley to the home of Mrs. Hootin, and there they found the dead body of Judge Abernathy, shot through the head, just like the verse on the tombstone. And Mrs. Hootin told them that he was shot from somewhere outside her farmhouse!

JACK:    So that's their game. Now they want to tie that murder on me, too.

JERRY:    Want to? They have! Bradley claims Mrs. Hootin said the Judge was shot outside her house...and there you are. Oh Jack, you got to get, and get quick!

Despite Jerry's warning, Jack is determined to investigate the newest open grave for new clues, and read the verse on the tombstone. He leads the others to the cemetery. Ramon starts playing the Spanish gentleman for Jerry, who is very flattered at all his attention. "You are much too lovely to face these terrible things. Much, much too lovely." Ramon says, adding, "Ramon, now you have seen the most lovely, the most beautiful, the most exquisite Senorita in all the worl,'" much to Jerry's blushing delight, and Doc's mirth (although slightly tinged with jealousy!).

They finally arrive at the little Whamperjaw graveyard, and on the edge of the new open grave, as Jack says, "...the latest addition to our collection of open graves." Ramon insists it must be Bradley behind it all. They count the five graves one by one. The first is one many months old, dismissed as "...just a grave," by Jack, and the second one, one more recent, one holding the body of Squire Hootin.

The third one is that of the "mysterious one", the one that first popped up with the mysterious verse about the man who would be "...shot by an arrow." But that grave is filled in, as the girls discover what the boys learned earlier that evening. The next open grave, the one prophesying the death of a man by shooting is now ready and waiting for Judge Abernathy. But it's the last open grave, the fifth one and it's verse, that interests Jack.

Doc expresses his concern for Jack's safety, and wants him to get out of town as soon as possible, before Bradley and his gang of buzzards grab him. Jack doesn't immediately address these concerns directly, but tells Doc, once they have read the new tombstone verse to, "...strain every ounce of brain power you got," to try and figure out who the next intended victim of the tombstone writer is, and get to them and find out who their enemies are, so the can stop them, and clear Jack of the phony murder charges. Jack admits he doesn't know what he'll be doing (or even if he'll still be free or even alive!) when Doc is doing this with the help of the others.

With the moon hidden behind a passing cloud, Jack lights several matches, and reads aloud the tombstone verse, one inscribed in the same crude and irregular writing of the other tombstones.

Jack: Yeah..."On February 27, a man will die, but not go to heaven. Because he cared for only gold. In here his bones can slowly mould. He lived like a moccasin in a lake. And so he died...by the bite of a snake!"

Doc suddenly interjects, that February 27th, since it is now after midnight, is today! He speculates out loud if this verse could be referring to the local banker, or a local miser. Ramon throws in that it could be Bradley, and when Jerry tries to get him off the broken record topic of Bradley, gets some further love talk from the love-smitten Mexican lad.

To get them off topic, Jack asks Mercedes if she knows if anyone in the town was money mad. Mercedes states that everyone in the boom town is money mad. Why else would they stay to drink the alkaline waters, and live in such squalor, and sleep like cattle? Doc asks then, why is she and Ramon here? Mercedes becomes furious, and tells off Doc, telling him that it's none of his business, and starts shouting insulting names at the suddenly abashed red-headed Texan, calling many things including "...one of seven kinds of a... big clumsy donkey!" She finally adds it's because of the business of a certain "who" that explains why she is now in Whamperjaw.

From the way Jack gets the others to get back on topic, Doc asks Jack if he's wondering if he wouldn't be with them much longer. Jack doesn't quite reply, other than dryly saying, "...could be...do you know anything about mob psychology?" but does not elaborate but instead insists that Doc take his rifle after learning his and Ramon's plans for hiding out.

With the moon hidden behind a cloud, they head out of the graveyard. Mercedes accidentally trips over the yawning open grave, and with a shudder, mentions that this was a very bad omen for her. Doc, while walking with the others, wonders aloud if it could be the local banker the verse writer is referring too. He asks Mercedes who the local banker is, but strangely gets no reply. Mercedes, angry, will not reply to Doc's question, says Ramon. But Ramon says he will answer, and that the local banker is a man called Mr Martin. Martin is a very religious man, one who gives generously to charity, a "good man," all things which makes even Doc admit, doesn't sound like the kind of man who would be the target of a crazed murderer.

Suddenly, hoof beats which have been drumming softly in the background, are heard storming closer towards the graveyard! It's Buck Bradley and his posse!

Doc tries to warn Jack to take his gun and skidaddle. Only, Jack doesn't answer, having long gone in the darkness! As the hoof beats get louder, Doc vows:

DOC:    Dad-gumm them skunks! If they touch a hair of Jack's head, I'll personally stomp them to pieces, one at a time!

Episode 9: Thursday February 28th, 1952.


(Note: This is the second of the two circulating recordings of this broadcast; the quoted portions have been transcribed to the best of my ability.)

SOUND: (Clock strikes Ten)

ANNCR:    Ten o'clock in the morning, in the city of Whamperjaw, which is somewhere in Texas. Jack , Doc and Jerry have been in this lawless little boom town for only 42 hours, and in that time there have been three murders prophesied on the tombstones of open graves, and two of these prophecies fulfilled! Last night, after a midnight rendezvous in the cemetery with Doc and Jerry, the Mexican girl Mercedes and her brother Ramon, Jack slipped away to hide and work on certain angles of the murders by himself. He left Doc, also a fugitive, to follow up other clues. Jerry is with Mercedes. As Jack vanished down the road leading to the graveyard, there was a fusillade of shots. Those left behind stood appalled; had Jack been ambushed? They ran to give a hand...there was nothing. Both Jack and the would be killer vanished. Finally Jerry and Mercedes crept back to the cabin...and Ramon and Doc slipped to a convenient hayloft. It is now ten in the morning, and Doc and Ramon are on their way to the bank.

Their shoes and boots clattering on the board sidewalks, the streets bare of pedestrians, Ramon and Doc hurry over to meet Mr. Martin. They soon arrive at the bank and look through the door. They find Martin, the banker, sitting at a desk, talking to a stranger, an older fellow with whiskers and dark glasses.

DOC:    Funny looking cuss, ain't he?

RAMON:    Senor Martin, you mean?

DOC:    No...I mean the feller talkin' to Martin. Crippled. Right arm shot...dirty ol' overalls...white whiskers. Look at the big stick of a cane he's carrying!

Mr. Martin finishes up some of his business with the stranger (who goes to a far off counter of the bank) and Doc and Ramon enter the bank.

Mr. Martin greets the two of them, and Doc introduces both himself and Ramon to him. Mr. Martin, speaking in a hoarse and rasping voice, says that young Ramon is well known to him, and goes on and asks if he can be of service to them. Doc boldly asks:

DOC:    Well the first thing I'd like to know Mr. Martin, is whether you have any personal enemies in this town.

Mr. Martin, taken aback at the question, responds in the negative; no enemies either here or elsewhere. Suddenly, the door opens and the eccentric Mrs. Hootin suddenly arrives on the scene. Mr. Martin begs that they excuse him for a moment, "I never let business interfere with the charming business I have with Mrs. Hootin."

Martin jovially greets her, and she replies with a dull, "Howdy." It ends up that Mrs. Hootin has baked him yet another cake, the latest in a wonderful series. He adds that her tiara looks wonderful, "...and lovely in your hair," but she replies cryptically, "H'it won't do it." He asks, in a whispering voice, if she was thinking of taking out any of the solitary diamonds from her diamond tiara, but she declines, saying, "Not a one...no sir!" He bows down gracefully, which earns him the dour reply "...you're so Good!"

MARTIN: Good bye, Mrs. Hootin. Come in again any time. If there's any business you'd like me to handle...if your late husband's affairs that need attention...remember I'll be only too glad to help you...

MRS. H: Squire Hootin's things?

MARTIN: I'm sorry you've lost your husband...I'll help you in any way I can...

MRS. H: Squire Hootin has gone to glory. He got stars in his crown, now.

MARTIN: I'm sure he had.

MRS. H: Goodbye.

Mrs. Hootin leaves the bank, brushing against a man just entering the bank as she does so. It's Buck Bradley, who apologizes to the odd lady, and heads over to Martin's desk, wanting to cash a small check. He does a double take, suddenly recognizing Doc and Ramon, and pulls out a gun and orders their hands up, and to head over.

DOC: (Fading in) This makes the second time you stuck me up with my own nickel-plated pearl-handled forty-five, ya skunk!

Sadistically, Bradley motions Ramon closer over, and with an sudden ugly motion, slaps him viciously across the face with the barrel of Doc's former pistol. Doc, itching to jump Bradley, doesn't dare do so, and Martin wrings his hands helplessly. Ramon picks himself, and vows:

RAMON: For sure as I am breathing, just for sure...some time I weel keel you!

Ignoring Ramon's threats, Bradley turns next to Doc:

BRADLEY:    Now, you gonna tell me where that partner of yours, that Packard fella, is at or am I gonna have to beat you into it?

DOC:    I wish I did know...just so's I could prove to you I wouldn't tell ya!

Bradley starts to tell them his plans, of having them go over to the jail, "...where there is more room to--" when he suddenly realized there's the grizzled stranger still in the bank, crouched over in the corner, listening to his every word. Martin quickly explains he's just a crippled stranger, trying to transfer funds from a California bank. Reassured that the older man is harmless and no threat to him, Bradley harshly orders the man out, and silently the stranger clatters out on his crutches.

Bradley marches the Doc and Ramon out of the bank, taunting and laughing at them, daring them to just try to escape so he could shoot them down like dogs if they make an attempt to do so.

A sudden ruckus breaks out behind the two of them as he laughs, and Bradley cries out in sudden unhappy alarm.

DOC: Get him, Mister!

SOUND (loud sock is heard, a groan and a body falls to the dirt!)

RAMON: Look! Look Senor Long...Bradley...Bradley he is knocked on the head! Somebody has smashed him the head!

DOC: Yeah, that old geezer who was in the bank, he sneaked right up behind Bradley and let him have it right over the head!

RAMON: He swung like the jack rabbit, eh?

DOC: There he goes now, lickety-split. Now, who do you reckon HE is?

RAMON: Oh...I dunno know senor, but I love that man, I love him, BIG!

DOC: Amen, brother, amen!

RAMON: Senor...quick. Quick. We might be seen. We must go quick, eh?

DOC: Amen. And I have my nickel-plated forty-five back. Just let Bradley start somethin'...and I hope he does!

MUSIC: (Organ... "Valse Triste.")

Episode 10: Friday February 29th, 1952.


As the clocks strikes ten-o'clock in the morning, Doc grabbed his pearl-handled nickel-plated forty-five after the mysterious stranger laid out Bradley cold, and he and Ramon quickly get off the streets of Whamperjaw.

Doc and Ramon head back to the hayloft together, and Ramon is sent out to fetch the girls. Just as Ramon leaves, Doc's cousin Winnie-Mae arrives, with a welcome basket of home-cooked food! Doc digs in with a vengeance, and around a mouthful of food, says:

DOC: Winnie-Mae, I love you. That was mighty good...food fixed like you fix it would make a tad-pole hug a whale.

Doc shovels away food as his they talk together. Winnie-Mae speculates that Bradley is behind all the mysterious deaths, and is even killing off his own men for some hidden reason of his own. Other possible names are raised as possibilities for the graveyard verse-writer killer, including the tiara-wearing Mrs. Hootin, and even Ramon and Mercedes! The mysterious crippled stranger is also a topic of conversation, as are other vile members in Bradley's gang. One such deputized thug, thief and all around Texas bad man is colorfully described by Doc's cousin:

WINNIE: He's jest a skunk who calls himself Kelly. Kiddo Kelly.

DOC: Kiddo Kelly?

WINNIE: Yeah..'bout five foot eleven. Ugly as home made sin. Bow legged, sandy haired...funny eyes...the color of a tard ol' corncob pipe. He's one of my favourite phobias.

She tells of a few incidents where she has run in with this unpleasant lieutenant of Buck Bradley's gang, including the time when she was opening a lock box he had brought to the blacksmith shop (claiming he had lost the key) she opened it to discover her lucky dollar (which had been stolen by some no good ciffy cat earlier!) inside, which Kiddo took out proceeded to brazenly pay her with for opening the box!

As she goes into another tale about Kiddo Kelly being, being after Buck Bradley, her "favorite phobia," Jerry Booker suddenly shows up at the hayloft hide out. Doc does a hurried introduction of the A-One detective agency's secretary and his "...favorite cousin my mama's side."

Jerry brings terrible news. During the last little while, Ramon has been attacked by one of the member's of Bradley's gang, whose description matches that of the just mentioned Kiddo Kelly! Worse, word has it Ramon has had his right arm malevolently broken by Kelly, causing Doc to exclaim, "He's a champeen candidate for a rat hole!"

The others beg for more news about Mercedes' brother. Jerry tells Doc and Winnie-Mae that Ramon is being sent out of town for medical attention, to a nearby city with a small hospital. He is being driven there by a friendly oil worker who saw the entire vicious and unprovoked attack.

After hearing the bad news about Ramon, Doc, Jerry and Winnie-Mae all decide to head out into the streets of Whamperjaw to see if they can learn about what happened to Ramon. Walking along, who does Winnie-Mae spy but Kiddo Kelly himself, heading into a ramshackle cabin! Doc is about to caution the others that he was going to sneak over and extract some Texas revenge, when suddenly:

DOC: (low) I'm gonna have a little talk with him before I--(up) Winnie-Mae!! Come here! Where you goin' to?

JERRY: Look Doc! He's gone out to meet him!

WINNIE: I'll learn you to bust kids arms, you yella (grunts) pup!

SOUND (in synch with Winnie-Mae's grunt) (Sock! Body falls on dirt)

DOC: Boy...howdy! What a wallop!

JERRY: Doc! Doc, she knocked him out...with just her fist!

DOC: That's my cousin on my mamma's side, she always could--

Doc's praise is interrupted when one of the girls spots a strange wizened and crippled figure seen creeping and limping around the same cabin the now unconscious Kiddo Kelly had been heading for. She reports he appeared to be a bearded cripple, and was carrying a crutch...could this be Doc and Ramon's previous mysterious rescuer? They leave the unconscious Kelly, and head on over to the house, which Winnie-Mae recognizes as belonging to none other than Banker Martin!

They sneak on over to the side window of the little house, but the mysterious figure is nowhere in sight. Doc peeks inside Mr. Martin's window, and gasps:

DOC: (off a little)(awed) Oh no! It cain't be!

JERRY: (alarmed) Doc! What is it? (fading in) What is it?

DOC: No...don't look Jerry! Don't look in there!

WINNIE: Well, tell us what it is!

DOC: Right in here...settin' in a big easy chair is Mr. Martin...Mr. Martin, the banker.

WINNIE: Well, what about it?

DOC: He's jest sittin' in there..all puffed up! He's turned a funny color, and he's setting there...jest starin'...I'm goin' in..I'm goin' to craw in through the winda...

JERRY: Be careful, Doc.

DOC: Yeah.

SOUND (Doc scrambling through the window..then sounds inside on floor)

DOC: (mumbles) There...I'm in...whew! What a mess he is! What the--

SOUND (Four revolver shots as full mike as possible)

JERRY: (off yells) Doc! What's the matter! What's happened!

DOC: Martin is deader than a door nail...An'--

SOUND (Two more revolver shots)

DOC: An' I'm SHOOTIN' SNAKES!

MUSIC: (Organ, "Valse Triste.")


This is the end of the second week--five episodes in total (#6 to #10)--of the ILAM serial, "The Graves of Whamperjaw, Texas." 

The remaining 5 episodes, of "The Graves of Whamperjaw, Texas." is also available for your reading pleaseure in synopsis format.  Simply follow this link:  Week 3.

To go back to re-read the first five episodes, #1 to #5, follow this link: Week 1.