Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Suspense
Show: To Find Help
Date: Jan 06 1949

CAST:

The Suspense Team:
ANNOUNCER, Harlow Wilcox
VOICE OF SUSPENSE
HAP
2ND ANNCR
OPERATOR (1 line)

Dramatis Personae:
MRS. GILLIS / ETHEL BARRYMORE
HOWARD / GENE KELLY
ARMSTRONG
SARAH, the dog
MILKMAN
STEVENS

NOTE: SUSPENSE aired another version of this play on 18 January 1945. This transcript includes material from the earlier broadcast in brackets.

MUSIC:

THEME, IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

And now Auto-Lite and its sixty thousand dealers and service stations present--

MUSIC:

KNIFE CHORD

VOICE:

SUSPENSE!

MUSIC:

UP ... THEN IN BG

VOICE:

Tonight, Auto-Lite co-stars Miss Ethel Barrymore and Mr. Gene Kelly in "To Find Help," a SUSPENSE play produced and directed by Anton M. Leader.

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

SUSPENSE -- radio's outstanding theatre of thrills -- is presented for your enjoyment by Auto-Lite and its sixty thousand dealers and service stations. Friends, when you buy an Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Battery, you're not getting just another ordinary battery. No, sir. You're getting a battery that needs water only three times a year in normal car use. Yes, Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Batteries need water only three times a year in normal car use. Why, a camel could drink its weight in water and a cactus could die of thirst before those tough, temperate, teetotaling Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Batteries would ask for an extra drop of H2O. So, friends, switch to an Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Battery tomorrow. Remember -- you're right, with Auto-Lite. Always right, with Auto-Lite.

MUSIC:

THEME, IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

And now Auto-Lite presents Gene Kelly and Ethel Barrymore in a tale well-calculated to keep you in--

MUSIC:

KNIFE CHORD

VOICE:

SUSPENSE!

MUSIC:

OUT

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) My roomer, Mr. Armstrong, tried to warn me that morning he left on his business trip. I remember we were just finishing breakfast and he was rather in a hurry.

SOUND:

BREAKFAST TABLE BACKGROUND ... GLASSES, DISHES, ET CETERA

ARMSTRONG:

(EXHALES) I don't care what you say, Mrs. Gillis. I just plain don't like it. You're alone here in the house all day, there are no close neighbors and, after all, you know nothing about the man.

MRS. GILLIS:

Good gracious, Mr. Armstrong, you'd think I was a pretty young thing of twenty to hear you tell it.

ARMSTRONG:

And another thing. It seems very strange to me that a young man should be job hunting from door to door this day and age. Why, there are plenty of jobs to be had.

MRS. GILLIS:

That's just why it's so difficult to find help these days. You're a worry wart, Mr. Armstrong. Now that I've found someone to do my heavy work, I'm not going to let your silly notions change my mind.

ARMSTRONG:

Well, all the same though, I'm not leaving the house this morning till I get a look at the guy.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) I remember I kept worrying about poor Mr. Armstrong missing his train, because it was getting to be nine o'clock. He dried the breakfast dishes for me. As he talked, he kept looking out of the window toward the long driveway.

SOUND:

DURING ABOVE, DISHES WASHED ... OUT WITH--

ARMSTRONG:

Hey, here he comes. (SURPRISED) Wha--? (LAUGHS, HIGHLY AMUSED) I guess I needn't have worried.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) Mr. Armstrong was smiling, for he'd seen my young man who was coming up the driveway. And I smiled, too. Even I had forgotten what a meek, harmless-looking lad he was. Why, he would hardly be called a man at all, I thought.

ARMSTRONG:

(LAUGHS) So that's the critter who's been causing me all this mental anguish.

MRS. GILLIS:

There, you see. You, and your silly ideas.

ARMSTRONG:

(CHUCKLES) Why, the little guy's not strong enough to keep a regular job, I suppose.

SARAH:

(GROWLS, THEN CONTINUES IN BG)

MRS. GILLIS:

Why, I believe Sarah's getting some of your foolish notions, Mr. Armstrong.

ARMSTRONG:

(CHUCKLES)

SOUND:

KNOCK AT DOOR

ARMSTRONG:

There now, Sarah. Sarah. I'm sorry that we made you nervous about him. Why, if you could see the guy--

MRS. GILLIS:

Sssh! He'll hear you!

SARAH:

(STOPS GROWLING)

SOUND:

MRS. GILLIS WALKS TO KITCHEN DOOR AND OPENS IT

MRS. GILLIS:

Good morning, lad. I've been expecting you. This is my roomer, Mr. Armstrong. I don't believe you told me your name.

HOWARD:

I'm Howard Wilton, ma'am.

ARMSTRONG:

Hello, Howard, how are you? I'm glad you've come. I know you'll be a great help to Mrs. Gillis here -- and you'll be company, too. Well, I'm off, Mrs. Gillis. Take care of yourself. (AMUSED, MOVING OFF) I, uh, don't think you'll have much trouble.

SOUND:

ARMSTRONG WALKS OUT THE KITCHEN DOOR WHICH CLOSES BEHIND HIM

SARAH:

(GROWLS, BARKS, GROWLS AGAIN)

HOWARD:

(SULLEN) I don't think your dog likes me, Mrs. Gillis.

MRS. GILLIS:

Of course she does. She's just getting a little old and peevish.

HOWARD:

Oh.

MRS. GILLIS:

Come along now, Howard. I'll show you where to hang your coat.

SOUND:

THEIR FOOTSTEPS THROUGH HOUSE

HOWARD:

Oh, yes. I always like to hang my coat up.

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) He followed me into the closet storeroom at the back of the house, and I handed him a clothes hanger (PICKS UP CLOTHES HANGER AND APRON) and a rough, heavy apron which I kept for cleaning help.

HOWARD:

(WARY) Is this apron clean, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

Why, of course it's clean. No one's worn it since it was laundered last.

HOWARD:

(BEAT, SLOWLY) There're spots on it. See?

MRS. GILLIS:

Spots? Here, let me look. Why, that's paint. No dirt in dried paint, son.

HOWARD:

If you don't mind, I'd rather not wear it.

MRS. GILLIS:

What will you wear then? You didn't bring other clothes--

HOWARD:

(DEFENSIVE) I'm a neat worker, Mrs. Gillis. You needn't worry about my clothes.

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) I turned, and the light hitting his face from the small [storeroom] window made him look so different. I was startled for a moment, and then I thought, "You're a silly old woman, Mrs. Gillis." And then I smiled.

HOWARD:

Are you laughing at me, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

(LIGHTLY) Why, no, son. I was laughing at myself. Come along, let's get started now.

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT ... OUT BEHIND--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) He'd only been at the den floor a short time when I heard him walk back to the closet storeroom.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS

MRS. GILLIS:

Can I help you, son?

HOWARD:

I'm going after my coat, Mrs. Gillis. I don't like it being out there in the storeroom. It's a breeding place for moths, you know.

MRS. GILLIS:

(AMUSED) Now, son, it takes longer than that for moths to do any damage.

HOWARD:

(PEEVED) Mrs. Gillis, perhaps you won't think it's quite so amusing when I tell you that it's my best and only coat.

MRS. GILLIS:

(KINDLY) I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, lad. Where would you like to put it -- in the kitchen, perhaps?

HOWARD:

No. The cooking fumes wouldn't be good for it. I'll take it right in the den with me. (BEAT, VERY POLITE) That is, if you don't mind.

MRS. GILLIS:

(PUZZLED) Go right ahead, Howard.

SOUND:

HIS FOOTSTEPS AWAY

HOWARD:

(MOVING OFF, TO HIMSELF) If you don't mind.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) Suddenly I was thankful that there was a phone. He was such a peculiar boy. I wasn't really alarmed. Not then, I wasn't. Still, it was good to know the phone was there and that old Sarah was still in the kitchen asleep.

MUSIC:

UP, FOR A TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) I went on about my own work that morning. But several times I went into the den to have a look at him. He wasn't doing much, I could see that. He seemed to keep polishing one small square in the corner of the room. (TO HOWARD) Is there anything you need, Howard? (NO ANSWER) Howard?

HOWARD:

(ABRUPT) I won't be spied upon, Mrs. Gillis! I won't put up with that!

MRS. GILLIS:

See here, lad, I think we must have gotten off on the wrong foot. I'm not spying on you.

HOWARD:

(UPSET) Then why do you keep popping in like that? Would you like me to go faster? Would you like me to spill out my life's blood for you here on the floor?! Is that what you're after?!

SOUND:

MRS. GILLIS WALKS TO HOWARD

MRS. GILLIS:

(CONCERNED) Howard -- are you well? Are you well enough to work?

HOWARD:

Of course I'm well. If only you'd quit bothering and pestering and questioning me! Is it too much to ask?

MRS. GILLIS:

(GENTLY REASONABLE) Howard. Son. I'm interested in young men. I have two boys of my own -- they were in the service. See? That's Bill on the desk there -- he was a Marine. And on the table there, that's Dennis. He was in the infantry.

HOWARD:

(GRIM) So -- that's why you hate me. I see it all now.

MRS. GILLIS:

Hate you? Why, whatever gave you--?

HOWARD:

Yes, you hate me! I could tell it the moment I walked into your house this morning!

MRS. GILLIS:

But, Howard--

HOWARD:

Ya hate me because I'm young and I wasn't in the service like your boys.

MRS. GILLIS:

Why, it never occurred to me! You must know I was grateful when you came looking for work.

HOWARD:

(SNEERING) Grateful! You resented me. The only reason you have me here is to work my life's blood away. To punish me for not being in the service, just because your sons were in the service and I wasn't!

MRS. GILLIS:

Son, you're ill. Let's put the work away now. I'll make you a cup of tea.

HOWARD:

Oh! You don't want me to do the job -- is that it? You're like the Army -- there was a job to be done, and they wouldn't let me in. Now you'd like me to stop in the middle of this!

MRS. GILLIS:

I only want you to do whatever will make you feel better.

HOWARD:

Well, leave me alone then.

MRS. GILLIS:

Very well.

HOWARD:

Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes?

HOWARD:

I'll tell you why I wasn't in the Army -- if you insist.

MRS. GILLIS:

I don't insist at all, Howard.

HOWARD:

If you must know, I'll tell ya. (BEAT, QUIETLY) They said there was somethin' wrong with my mind.

MUSIC:

FOR A CURTAIN ... THEN IN BG

VOICE:

For SUSPENSE, Auto-Lite is bringing you Mr. Gene Kelly, co-starring with Miss Ethel Barrymore in radio's outstanding theatre of thrills, SUSPENSE.

MUSIC:

TAG AND OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Hap, I had a very embarrassing experience at New Year's Day dinner.

HAP:

Well, what in the world happened, Harlow?

ANNOUNCER:

Well, the whole family was there, you see -- brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, outlaws-- I mean in-laws.

HAP:

(CHUCKLES)

ANNOUNCER:

And during a lull in the conversation, I thought I'd tell 'em all about that wonderful, abstemious Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Battery.

HAP:

Oh, my.

ANNOUNCER:

So naturally I told them about that extra-large liquid reserve of Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Batteries. Even the Great Lakes, said I, are no great shakes compared to the reservoir in those Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Batteries. Why, those batteries need water only three times a year in normal car use.

HAP:

I'm beginning to understand.

ANNOUNCER:

Then, of course, I told them that Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Batteries give longer life than batteries without the Sta-Ful features. And then I explained--

HAP:

Uh, wait a minute, Harlow. Did you say all this at your big family dinner?

ANNOUNCER:

Yes! And here's the funny thing, Hap. Just as I was telling them how every smart car owner was switching to Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Batteries, two of my biggest cousins got up, came around to my chair, and carried me -- chair and all -- into the pantry! And, by Cornelius, the pantry was where I finished my New Year's dinner!

HAP:

(CHUCKLES)

ANNOUNCER:

Can you imagine my own relatives doing a thing like that to me?

HAP:

Well, that certainly was a dirty trick, Harlow. But, quiet -- here's SUSPENSE again.

MUSIC:

THEME, IN BG

VOICE:

And now Auto-Lite brings back to our Hollywood sound stage Miss Ethel Barrymore and Mr. Gene Kelly in "To Find Help" -- a tale well-calculated to keep you in--

MUSIC:

KNIFE CHORD

VOICE:

SUSPENSE!

MUSIC:

OUT BEHIND--

HOWARD:

I just thought maybe you'd like to know, Mrs. Gillis. They said there was something wrong with my mind.

MUSIC:

BIG ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) The first thing that I thought of when I reached the hallway was the phone. But it was in the den -- with Howard.

SOUND:

HER BRISK FOOTSTEPS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) I ran quickly to the back door--

SOUND:

RATTLE OF LOCKED BACK DOOR

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) But it was locked. And the key wasn't in its usual place.

SOUND:

MORE FOOTSTEPS ... RATTLE OF LOCKED FRONT DOOR

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) The front door -- locked, too. Then I heard a crash.

MUSIC:

OUT WITH--

SOUND:

CRASH! OF TELEPHONE THROWN TO THE FLOOR, OFF

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) It came from the den. I rushed in to find Howard peacefully polishing away at the same spot. He hadn't moved an inch. He didn't look up at me. Then I saw the phone which had fallen to the floor beside him. But it hadn't just fallen. The wires had been torn out of the wall.

HOWARD:

(EERILY CALM) The phone, Mrs. Gillis. It fell.

MRS. GILLIS:

But-- The wires--?

HOWARD:

I suppose you think I ruined your phone.

MRS. GILLIS:

The wires--

HOWARD:

That happened when it fell to the floor.

MRS. GILLIS:

It couldn't have--

HOWARD:

(INSISTS) It happened when it fell to the floor.

MRS. GILLIS:

But--

HOWARD:

(POINTED) I don't suppose you'll be able to use it any more. Not for a while, anyway.

MRS. GILLIS:

No. I don't suppose I will.

SOUND:

MRS. GILLIS' FOOTSTEPS OUT OF DEN AND INTO KITCHEN

MRS. GILLIS:

(SUPPRESSING PANIC, CALLS) Sarah! Here! Sarah! Sarah?

HOWARD:

(FOLLOWING HER) Mrs. Gillis.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS OUT

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes?

HOWARD:

Are you looking for your dog?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes. Yes, I haven't seen her all morning. She was in the kitchen.

HOWARD:

Well, she's not there any longer.

MRS. GILLIS:

I know. Where is she, Howard?

HOWARD:

Where is she?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes! Where is she?!

HOWARD:

She's gone.

MRS. GILLIS:

Gone?! If you've harmed her--

HOWARD:

She didn't like me, you know.

MRS. GILLIS:

See here, I've put up with enough! You tell me where my dog is, or--

HOWARD:

Or what, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

I'll--

HOWARD:

You'll do what, Mrs. Gillis? What will you do?

MRS. GILLIS:

(CRIES OUT) Sarah! Here, Sarah!

HOWARD:

She's gone, Mrs. Gillis. I told you that.

MRS. GILLIS:

You've harmed my dog.

HOWARD:

Have I?

MRS. GILLIS:

You killed her. (SHAKEN, FIGHTS BACK TEARS) Poor old Sarah, who never hurt a thing.

HOWARD:

She woulda hurt me.

MRS. GILLIS:

You're bad, Howard. You're wicked. You're a coward.

HOWARD:

(OFFENDED) I'm not a coward, Mrs. Gillis! Cowards are afraid to kill.

MRS. GILLIS:

Only a coward would kill a poor old dog. (WEEPS)

HOWARD:

If I were a coward, I'd be afraid of you. And I'm not afraid of you.

MRS. GILLIS:

You let me out of here.

HOWARD:

I have strong hands, Mrs. Gillis. My fingers are like steel.

MRS. GILLIS:

I've never harmed you.

HOWARD:

No, and Sarah didn't either. But she would have, if I hadn't harmed her first.

MRS. GILLIS:

(PANIC, LOUD) Let me out of here!

HOWARD:

You're getting very noisy, Mrs. Gillis. (WITH EFFORT) Perhaps if I locked you in [this closet] here, you'd calm down a bit.

SOUND:

SCUFFLE DURING ABOVE -- AS HOWARD PUSHES MRS. GILLIS INTO STOREROOM

MRS. GILLIS:

Howard! Howard!

SOUND:

STOREROOM DOOR SLAMS SHUT

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

SOUND:

KEY TURNED SHARPLY IN LOCK

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) And then I heard the key turn in the lock. For a moment I had the feeling of unreality. Was this really happening? But I found out soon enough that it wasn't a dream, for the dim light from the little square window picked up a limp, lifeless object in the corner among the dusty mops. I knew without looking further what it was -- poor Sarah. Sarah, who'd never harmed a soul.

MUSIC:

SHARP ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) I don't know how long he kept me there. I could hear him moving about the house. But he finally came. He spoke to me through the door.

HOWARD:

(BEHIND DOOR) Have you calmed down, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

(PERFECTLY CALM) Yes, Howard. Let me out.

HOWARD:

(BEHIND DOOR) Why?

MRS. GILLIS:

Because it's warm in here. Because I want to get out.

HOWARD:

(BEHIND DOOR) You were looking for your dog, weren't you?

MRS. GILLIS:

Never mind about that, Howard. Let me out.

HOWARD:

(BEHIND DOOR) Mrs. Gillis, if I kept you in there, you wouldn't be able to spy on me ever again.

MRS. GILLIS:

I won't spy on you, Howard. Let me out.

HOWARD:

(BEHIND DOOR) Do you know what I've been doing, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

No.

HOWARD:

(BEHIND DOOR) I've been doing your den floors just like ya asked me to.

MRS. GILLIS:

That's fine, Howard.

HOWARD:

(BEHIND DOOR) It was fine being able to work peacefully -- knowing that you were someplace where you couldn't bother me.

MRS. GILLIS:

I won't bother you, Howard.

HOWARD:

(BEHIND DOOR) It was very peaceful. Nobody to bother me.

MRS. GILLIS:

Let me out, Howard.

HOWARD:

(BEHIND DOOR) Will you promise to do as I tell ya?

MRS. GILLIS:

I promise.

HOWARD:

(BEHIND DOOR) Anything?

MRS. GILLIS:

Anything.

HOWARD:

(BEHIND DOOR) Very well, then--

SOUND:

HOWARD STEPS FORWARD ... KEY TURNS IN LOCK ... STOREROOM DOOR OPENS ... FOOTSTEPS

HOWARD:

Now -- no tricks.

MRS. GILLIS:

No.

HOWARD:

Feel my hands, Mrs. Gillis. (BEAT) Are they nice hands?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes. They're nice hands.

HOWARD:

You haven't felt them.

SOUND:

HOWARD STEPS FORWARD AS HE PRESSES HIS HANDS TO HERS

MRS. GILLIS:

(GASPS)

HOWARD:

Did your sons have as nice hands as these?

MRS. GILLIS:

No. No, they didn't.

HOWARD:

But they didn't have any trouble getting jobs, did they? I'm just as good as they were, you know.

MRS. GILLIS:

Of course you are, Howard. Wouldn't you like some food, lad? You haven't eaten all day, you know.

HOWARD:

Some food would be good.

MRS. GILLIS:

Let me fix you some.

SOUND:

THEIR FOOTSTEPS TO KITCHEN, DURING FOLLOWING--

HOWARD:

Mrs. Gillis, a woman I worked for once said my hands were weak.

MRS. GILLIS:

She did?

HOWARD:

She soon found out, however.

MRS. GILLIS:

Here, now, lad, I have some nice cold roast in the icebox.

SOUND:

ICEBOX DOOR OPENS, ROAST REMOVED, ICEBOX DOOR CLOSES ... MRS. GILLIS' FOOTSTEPS WALK ABOUT THE KITCHEN DURING FOLLOWING--

HOWARD:

I taught her a lesson.

MRS. GILLIS:

It'll only take a minute to fix some salad.

HOWARD:

Were your sons' hands strong, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

Not as strong as yours, Howard. I'll set the table right away.

SOUND:

UTENSILS, DISHES, ET CETERA

HOWARD:

Mrs. Gillis, feel my hands again. They're like steel, you know.

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) I finally managed to get some lunch on the table. Howard sat beside me. He didn't say much, and he ate very little. I tried to appear casual, to engage him in conversation, anything.

SOUND:

UTENSILS, IN BG

MRS. GILLIS:

(TO HOWARD) Do you work often, Howard?

HOWARD:

Not often.

MRS. GILLIS:

Do you have trouble finding jobs?

HOWARD:

People are anxious to find help these days. Weren't you?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes. To find help.

HOWARD:

Mrs. Gillis. (BEAT) They're looking for me.

MRS. GILLIS:

Who, Howard?

HOWARD:

I don't know exactly. People I worked for last, I guess.

MRS. GILLIS:

Was that here, in this town?

HOWARD:

No. It was another town. Everyone was looking for me, so I went away. It's horrible to be spied upon, Mrs. Gillis. Do you know what it is to be spied upon?

MRS. GILLIS:

No, no, I don't.

HOWARD:

Would you like to know?

MRS. GILLIS:

No, I - I wouldn't, Howard.

HOWARD:

I think I'll spy on you the rest of the day. Then you'll know how it feels.

MRS. GILLIS:

No, no, please, Howard. Whatever it is you want, take it and go away.

HOWARD:

There's nothing I want. Nothing. I - I only want to stay here with you.

MRS. GILLIS:

(SOBS) I can't stand it, Howard! I can't! I'm an old woman. Please go away and leave me alone!

HOWARD:

I'm not going away, Mrs. Gillis. There's still a job to be done. I'll go away after I've done everything that's to be done.

MRS. GILLIS:

Howard, I have some money here in the kitchen cabinet drawer. It's a great deal. I'll give it to you.

HOWARD:

I don't want your money, Mrs. Gillis.

MRS. GILLIS:

(PLEADS) Then go away.

HOWARD:

That would be foolish. Then you'd tell on me.

MRS. GILLIS:

No, I wouldn't. Really, Howard, go away and I'll never tell a soul that you've been here.

HOWARD:

I don't believe you. And I don't trust you. (OMINOUS) There's only one way of being certain that you won't tell.

SOUND:

MILK TRUCK PULLS INTO DRIVEWAY

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) My heart jumped when I looked out the window. I saw it was the milkman. [Howard moved quickly to the window with me.]

HOWARD:

(LOW, URGENT) Tell him to go away.

MRS. GILLIS:

I can't. I've ordered some extra things--

HOWARD:

Then go into the storeroom until he goes.

MRS. GILLIS:

I can't, Howard. He knows I'm here. He'll expect me to pay him.

HOWARD:

(FURIOUS WHISPER) You promised to do as I told you!

SOUND:

CABINET DRAWER OPENS ... RATTLE OF UTENSILS

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) And he pulled open the cabinet drawer. I saw him take a knife out.

HOWARD:

(A THREAT) Now will ya tell him to go away?

MILKMAN:

(WHISTLES CASUALLY ... OFF, BUT COMING CLOSER)

SOUND:

RATTLE! OF GLASS MILK BOTTLES ... AND MILKMAN'S FOOTSTEPS ON DRIVEWAY AS HE APPROACHES THE HOUSE

MRS. GILLIS:

(RAPID, REASONABLE) Howard, if I tell him to go, he'll think something's wrong. Then you'll get caught for sure.

HOWARD:

All right, Mrs. Gillis. Take whatever you've ordered. But if you pull any tricks, you'll be sorry.

MRS. GILLIS:

[(NARRATES) Without another word, he stepped back between the stove and the wall, but he was still within easy reach of me.]

SOUND:

HOWARD'S FOOTSTEPS RETREAT AS THE MILKMAN RAPS ON GLASS WINDOW

MRS. GILLIS:

(TO MILKMAN) Just a moment.

SOUND:

MRS. GILLIS RAISES THE WINDOW

MILKMAN:

(FRIENDLY) Good afternoon, Mrs. Gillis.

MRS. GILLIS:

(SUPPRESSES HER TENSION) Good afternoon.

MILKMAN:

A lovely day, isn't it?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes, it is.

MILKMAN:

Mrs. Gillis, I think I have good news for you.

MRS. GILLIS:

You have?

MILKMAN:

Yup! Beginning the first, the company's taking on some more help, and in the future your deliveries will be made in the early morning.

MRS. GILLIS:

That's nice.

MILKMAN:

I don't believe you ever did like these late deliveries, did you?

MRS. GILLIS:

I never really minded.

MILKMAN:

(CHUCKLES) If all of our customers were like you, Mrs. Gillis, it wouldn't be such a bad world.

SOUND:

MILKMAN PLACES BOTTLES ON KITCHEN COUNTER BEHIND--

MILKMAN:

Here you are, one quart of milk, and a pint of half-and-half. Goodbye, Mrs. Gillis.

SOUND:

MILKMAN STARTS TO PULL WINDOW DOWN

MRS. GILLIS:

(SUDDENLY) Uh, the extra things -- you forgot them!

SOUND:

MILKMAN PULLS WINDOW UP

MILKMAN:

(PUZZLED) The extra things?

MRS. GILLIS:

(QUICKLY, INSISTENT) Yes, the extra things. Now don't tell me you've forgotten them? The eggs and the butter--?

MILKMAN:

(CONFUSED, STAMMERS) Okay, I'll get 'em right away.

SOUND:

MILKMAN WALKS BACK DOWN DRIVEWAY AS HOWARD EMERGES FROM HIDING

HOWARD:

(HOARSE WHISPER) Mrs. Gillis, I'm gonna give you one more chance. When he comes back, you're to get rid of him, do you hear? And if you give me away, I'm gonna kill ya. I'll kill ya before he can get inside this house, and I don't care what they do to me!

MRS. GILLIS:

(LOW) I won't give you away, Howard. I'll only pay him. I'll have to do that--

HOWARD:

Shut up! And remember!

SOUND:

MILKMAN WALKS UP TO WINDOW

MILKMAN:

Here you are, Mrs. Gillis.

MRS. GILLIS:

Thank you.

MILKMAN:

Anything else?

MRS. GILLIS:

No. That's all.

MILKMAN:

Mrs. Gillis, I was going to say--

MRS. GILLIS:

(FRANTIC) I'm sorry, I can't stop to talk today. I'm very busy.

SOUND:

MRS. GILLIS QUICKLY PULLS WINDOW DOWN ... HOWARD EMERGES FROM HIDING

HOWARD:

(LOW) You're very clever, aren't you, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

What do you mean?

HOWARD:

You thought you were going to put something over on me, didn't you?

MRS. GILLIS:

I sent him away, didn't I?

HOWARD:

The extra things you ordered. There weren't any!

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes, there were! You saw him! You heard him!

HOWARD:

He didn't know what you were talking about!

SOUND:

MILKMAN RAPS ON GLASS WINDOW

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) The milkman had returned. He stood outside the window. Howard looked at me. I saw his knuckles grow white as he clutched the knife.

HOWARD:

(ANGRY WHISPER) This is your last chance! Get rid of him!

MRS. GILLIS:

(LOW) I will, Howard, I will.

SOUND:

MRS. GILLIS RAISES THE WINDOW

MILKMAN:

I'm sorry to bother you again, Mrs. Gillis, but you forgot to pay me. That is, unless you want to--

MRS. GILLIS:

Oh, yes, yes, I'll pay you.

SOUND:

MRS. GILLIS QUICKLY WALKS TO DRAWER, OPENS IT, GRABS MONEY, SHUTS DRAWER, WALKS TO WINDOW

MRS. GILLIS:

Here you are.

MILKMAN:

Sorry I had to bother you, Mrs. Gillis. But you see, this is the day I have to account for my--

MRS. GILLIS:

(QUICKLY) Yes, yes. I'm busy. Can't you see that I'm very busy?

SOUND:

MRS. GILLIS HURRIEDLY PULLS WINDOW DOWN

HOWARD:

(LOW) Tell me when he's gone, Mrs. Gillis.

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) I stood by the window and watched. He got into his truck--

SOUND:

TRUCK ENGINE STARTS, OFF

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) Then he drove off.

SOUND:

TRUCK DRIVES AWAY

HOWARD:

So that was your scheme, was it? So you wanted to give me away?

MRS. GILLIS:

He's gone now, Howard.

HOWARD:

You thought he'd save you, didn't you?

MRS. GILLIS:

No! No, I sent him away like you asked me.

HOWARD:

Do you know what would have happened to me? Do you?!

MRS. GILLIS:

(SOBS)

HOWARD:

They would have taken me away!

MRS. GILLIS:

(TEARFUL) Howard, leave me alone.

HOWARD:

(SAVAGE) I'm gonna punish you.

MRS. GILLIS:

No, Howard. I've been punished enough!

HOWARD:

No, you haven't.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) He was standing very close now. I knew he still held the knife. Suddenly everything was black. I slipped to the floor.

MUSIC:

UP, FOR AN ACCENT AND TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) When I came to, I was on the kitchen floor. My head throbbed. Then I remembered everything. But where was he?

SOUND:

SOFT SWISH OF FLOOR POLISHER ... OFF ... THEN IN BG

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) And I heard a sound. A soft, swishing sound. Seemed like hours before I could bring myself to move.

SOUND:

CLOCK STRIKES FIVE BEHIND--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) Suddenly the hall clock began to strike. (PAUSE) Why, it was five o'clock! I'd been unconscious for longer than I'd thought.

SOUND:

DEN DOOR KNOB TURNS ... DEN DOOR SLOWLY CREAKS OPEN ... SWISHING GROWS LOUDER

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) The room had already turned dark in the late afternoon light, but I could see him now. He stood in the middle of the room. He was pushing my heavy floor polisher -- back and forth, back and forth. I tried to close the door quietly--

SOUND:

DEN DOOR SLOWLY CREAKS

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) But he looked up. He saw me.

HOWARD:

What time is it, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

About five.

HOWARD:

I guess I'll call it a day now. I've done a nice job, haven't I?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes, Howard. Very nice.

HOWARD:

I think I'll be going now. Doesn't it shine nicely, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes. Yes, it does.

HOWARD:

Was it worth five dollars to you?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes, Howard.

HOWARD:

I have nice hands, haven't I, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes, Howard, you have. Here, take the money.

HOWARD:

Thank you. It's a pity they have to be used to polish floors.

MRS. GILLIS:

You've done such a good job, Howard, I'm going to give you a few extra dollars.

HOWARD:

Thank you. Will you be needing me tomorrow, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

No, thank you, Howard.

SOUND:

HOWARD WALKS TO KITCHEN DOOR ... TRIES TO OPEN DOOR ... RATTLES KNOB

HOWARD:

The door's locked, Mrs. Gillis.

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes, Howard. (BEAT) Do you have the key?

HOWARD:

(MILDLY SURPRISED) Why, yes. Yes, I - I do. I just remembered. I just remembered a lot of things--

SOUND:

KNOCK AT DOOR

HOWARD:

Mrs. Gillis, there's someone at the door.

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes, Howard. Will you open it?

HOWARD:

Should I?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes, Howard. You have the key.

HOWARD:

I have?

SOUND:

PULLS KEY RING FROM POCKET

HOWARD:

Is this it, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes, Howard. Open the door.

SOUND:

KNOCK AT DOOR

MRS. GILLIS:

Open the door, Howard. (BEAT) Open it.

HOWARD:

All right, Mrs. Gillis.

SOUND:

KEY IN LOCK ... KITCHEN DOOR UNLOCKS AND OPENS

STEVENS:

I'm Mr. Stevens from the phone company. Your phone's been reported out of order.

HOWARD:

Mrs. Gillis, is your phone out of order?

MRS. GILLIS:

No, no, there must be a mistake.

STEVENS:

That's strange. We've had several reports. Er, maybe I'd better run back and check my books.

MRS. GILLIS:

(QUICKLY) Just a moment, Mr. Stevens. Could you do me a favor?

STEVENS:

Why, certainly.

MRS. GILLIS:

This boy--

HOWARD:

Mrs. Gillis--

MRS. GILLIS:

This boy; he's worked here all day. He's done a good job. But I don't think he's well.

HOWARD:

(INSISTS) I'm all right, Mrs. Gillis.

MRS. GILLIS:

But you're tired. Aren't you tired, Howard? Doesn't your head ache?

HOWARD:

Huh? (REALIZES) Yes. Yes, I - I am tired. And my head does ache.

MRS. GILLIS:

Well, maybe Mr. Stevens will be kind enough to drive you to the car line.

STEVENS:

I'll be glad to, Mrs. Gillis, but I can't wait long.

MRS. GILLIS:

Right away. And I'll go along, too. I have some marketing to do. And, Mr. Stevens, as long as you're here, would you mind checking the phone just to make sure?

STEVENS:

Why, of course.

MRS. GILLIS:

I'll show you where it is.

HOWARD:

Can I show him, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

No, Howard. You wait here. We'll be right back.

SOUND:

MRS. GILLIS AND STEVENS' FOOTSTEPS TO THE DEN

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) I moved quickly toward the den. Mr. Stevens followed me.

SOUND:

DEN DOOR CLOSES (AND FOOTSTEPS OUT) BEHIND--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) Once inside, I closed the door behind me. He spotted the torn wires at once.

STEVENS:

(PUZZLED) Say, this phone--!

MRS. GILLIS:

(LOW, QUICKLY) Ssshh! It was that boy. That man. He's dangerous. Drive us to the police station as fast you can.

STEVENS:

Well, I--

SOUND:

DEN DOOR OPENS BEHIND--

MRS. GILLIS:

(NARRATES) Before he could reply, I opened the den door and went out -- into an empty room!

STEVENS:

(SURPRISED) Say--!

MRS. GILLIS:

(CALLS) Howard?! (NO ANSWER, TO STEVENS) He's gone!

STEVENS:

Yeah, it sure looks that way.

MRS. GILLIS:

(WORRIED) No, no! You've got to find him!

STEVENS:

But, Mrs. Gillis, if you were afraid of--?

MRS. GILLIS:

You don't understand. He's angry with me. He wants to kill me. And now he's - he's hiding here somewhere. When you go, he'll come out and -- he'll kill me.

STEVENS:

Say, there, ma'am, take it easy. You're getting yourself all worked up.

MRS. GILLIS:

You don't believe me!

STEVENS:

Well, look, Mrs. Gillis, maybe I'd better run down to the corner and phone for somebody--

MRS. GILLIS:

No, no! You can't leave me! I'll - I'll go with you.

STEVENS:

Well, sure, if it'll make you feel any better. My car's right outside in the driveway.

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes.

STEVENS:

Come on.

SOUND:

THEIR FOOTSTEPS TO THE KITCHEN DOOR

MRS. GILLIS:

Yes, and we'll call the police. They'll come and get him.

SOUND:

KITCHEN DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES ... THEIR FOOTSTEPS INTO THE DRIVEWAY

STEVENS:

Sure. Whatever you say. He looked like a nice enough young fellow, though. Are you sure that he--?

MRS. GILLIS:

(GASPS)

SOUND:

THEIR FOOTSTEPS STOP ABRUPTLY

HOWARD:

(INNOCENTLY) Were you looking for me, Mrs. Gillis?

MRS. GILLIS:

(EVENLY) Why, yes, Howard, I was. Are you ready to go?

HOWARD:

Yes, I - I'm ready. I just thought I'd wait in the car.

STEVENS:

Sure, sure. All right, Mrs. Gillis.

SOUND:

REAR CAR DOOR OPENS

STEVENS:

You get in the back here.

MRS. GILLIS:

Thank you.

SOUND:

MRS. GILLIS CLIMBS INTO CAR ... REAR CAR DOOR SHUTS ... STEVENS WALKS AROUND CAR ... FRONT CAR DOOR OPENS ... STEVENS CLIMBS IN ... FRONT CAR DOOR SHUTS

HOWARD:

It's very kind of you to do this for me. I - I'm very tired. [I - I can't seem to remember things.]

MRS. GILLIS:

[Well, now don't try to, Howard.] Just relax, Howard. We'll take care of you.

STEVENS:

All ready?

MRS. GILLIS:

All ready, Mr. Stevens.

SOUND:

CAR ENGINE STARTS

HOWARD:

Mr. Stevens?

STEVENS:

What?

HOWARD:

Don't you think I have nice hands?

STEVENS:

Why, I-- Yes, I - I guess so.

HOWARD:

Yes. They're strong hands, too. (WHISPERS) Very strong.

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

VOICE:

Thank you, Gene Kelly and Ethel Barrymore, for a splendid performance. Our stars will return in just a moment.

ANNOUNCER:

Say, uh, Hap?

HAP:

Huh?

ANNOUNCER:

I've got a wonderful New Year's resolution here.

HAP:

Well, don't tell me you're resolved to give up talking, Harlow.

ANNOUNCER:

Give up talking? Me? "Auto-Lite patter-packed" Wilcox?

HAP:

(CHUCKLES)

ANNOUNCER:

Why, will a pistol-packing cowboy give up his gun? Will a power-packed Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Battery give up the ghost when you need it most? Not on your life, by Cornelius! No, sir, Hap. The New Year's resolution I've got is for every car owner who doesn't already have an Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Battery. And the resolution reads, "I resolve at the earliest opportunity -- that is, tomorrow morning -- to drive down to my nearest Auto-Lite dealer and get a brand new Auto-Lite Sta-Ful Battery, the battery that needs water only three times a year in normal car use. For, remember, friends -- "You're right with Auto-Lite!" And remember, too--

MUSIC:

CHORD

ANNOUNCER:

Auto-Lite means batteries.

2ND ANNCR:

Sta-Ful Batteries!

MUSIC:

CHORD

ANNOUNCER:

Auto-Lite means spark plugs.

2ND ANNCR:

Ignition-engineered resistor spark plugs!

MUSIC:

CHORD

ANNOUNCER:

Auto-Lite means ignition systems.

2ND ANNCR:

The lifeline of your car!

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

VOICE:

And now, here again is Mr. Gene Kelly.

KELLY:

It's always a pleasure to appear on SUSPENSE, but it was especially wonderful playing opposite a truly great lady of the stage and screen, Miss Ethel Barrymore.

BARRYMORE:

Why, thank you, Gene. It was a great pleasure for me, too -- even though in the story I had a harrowing time of it.

KELLY:

Well, that's the specialty of SUSPENSE, Miss Barrymore. That's why I try never to miss a program. For instance, next week, radio's outstanding theatre of thrills presents Danny Kaye in a new kind of role -- for him. He plays a murderer in a story titled, "The Too-Perfect Alibi," and you can be sure it's another gripping study in--

MUSIC:

KNIFE CHORD ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

VOICE:

SUSPENSE!

ANNOUNCER:

Gene Kelly can currently be seen in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer all-star Technicolor musical "Words and Music," based on the lives and music of Rodgers and Hart. Ethel Barrymore may currently be seen in the David O. Selznick production "Portrait of Jennie." Tonight's SUSPENSE play was by Mel Dinelli, with music composed by Lucien Moraweck and conducted by Lud Gluskin. The entire production was under the direction of Anton M. Leader. Next Thursday, same time, hear Danny Kaye in "The Too-Perfect Alibi." [X]

SOUND:

PHONE RINGS ... IS PICKED UP

OPERATOR:

(FILTER) Remember, you're right with Auto-Lite! So switch to - Auto-Lite. Good night!

ANNOUNCER:

This is CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.

MUSIC:

SUSPENSE THEME ... TILL END

ANNOUNCER:

(HACKING COUGH)