Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Suspense
Show: Backseat Driver
Date: Jul 19 1955

CAST:

The Suspense Team:
ANNOUNCER
CBS ANNCR (1 line)

Dramatis Personae:
JOE, the husband
ELLIE, the wife
NEWSCASTER, on the radio
MATTRICK, the killer
MIKE, the young motorcycle cop
BILL, at the gas station
MIRANDA, at the drive-in
OFFICER

NOTE: SUSPENSE aired other versions of this play on 3 February 1949 (starring Fibber McGee and Molly!) and 22 February 1951. This transcript includes material from the earlier broadcasts in brackets.

MUSIC:

THEME

ANNOUNCER:

And now, tonight's presentation of radio's outstanding theatre of thrills -- SUSPENSE!

MUSIC:

KNIFE CHORD ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, the story of two people and the terror that rode with them in the city. We call it "Backseat Driver." So now, starring Miss Vivi Janiss and Mr. Parley Baer, here is tonight's SUSPENSE play, "Backseat Driver."

MUSIC:

UP, FOR AN ACCENT, AND OUT

JOE:

(NARRATES) It can't happen to you. You read about stuff like that in the papers -- girls murdered and mutilated; drunks left dying in the gutter for the handful of change they had in their pockets; lonesome old men tortured because some hoodlum gets the idea they're misers with a pot of gold hidden under the floorboards of the shack. Sure, you know it's real, but it can't happen to you.

Oh, you get your fair share of trouble. I've been a professional man here in Los Angeles for twenty years. I've met up with bums and grifters and petty sharpers; they're around in any business. But the viciousness, the real deep down dirt -- that's for somebody else. You do your work and you go home to your family, and for a real bang-up evening, to break the monotony, you take your wife out to a movie. That's what I did that Saturday night.

SOUND:

CITY TRAFFIC BACKGROUND ... JOE & ELLIE'S FOOTSTEPS

JOE:

(NARRATES) We'd driven all the way in from the San Fernando Valley to Beverly Hills for a picture Ellie 'specially wanted to see.

ELLIE:

Wasn't that a good movie, Joe?

JOE:

(UNENTHUSIASTIC) Mm hm.

ELLIE:

Just the kind I like. Songs and dancing and girls in pretty clothes. I get so tired of cops and robbers.

JOE:

(CHUCKLES) What's wrong with cops and robbers?

ELLIE:

Oh, you know what I mean. Murder movies. Honestly. All the policemen stupid and all the crooks sneering out of the corners of their mouths. (CHUCKLES)

JOE:

(CHUCKLES) Yeah, the stuff those Hollywood boys dream up. You'd think the streets were knee-deep in blood and you couldn't hear yourself think for machine guns.

ELLIE:

(CHUCKLES)

JOE:

[Well, here we are, honey.]

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS OUT AS CAR DOOR OPENS

ELLIE:

Well, you get in first, honey.

JOE:

Okay.

SOUND:

THEY CLIMB INTO CAR, GET SETTLED, CAR DOOR SHUTS LIGHTLY

JOE:

Er, I don't think your door's closed tight, honey.

ELLIE:

Oh.

SOUND:

CAR DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS MORE SOLIDLY ... ENGINE STARTS UP

ELLIE:

Oh, don't forget about the gas.

JOE:

Oh, I got plenty to take us out to the Valley. I'll fill up at Bill's.

ELLIE:

Hm.

SOUND:

CAR IS PUT IN GEAR ... DRIVES THROUGH TRAFFIC, IN BG

ELLIE:

(ATTEMPTS TO HUM A TUNE) Remember how that song goes, Joe?

JOE:

What song?

ELLIE:

In the picture. You know, "Two on the Moon"? The one the boy sang to the girl.

JOE:

Oh, that one. Let's see. (ATTEMPTS THE TUNE, THEN STOPS, SELF-CONSCIOUS) Oh, heck, I don't know.

ELLIE:

Oh. Well, we'll hear it again on the radio.

JOE:

How 'bout turnin' it on?

ELLIE:

[The radio? Why, sure.]

SOUND:

RADIO CLICKS ON

JOE:

Set her to KNX. We ought to get some news in a few minutes. I'd like to hear whether they caught that fella.

ELLIE:

That [awful mass] murderer?

JOE:

Mm hm. They spotted him in L.A. this afternoon, but he got away.

MUSIC:

A SWING TUNE ON THE RADIO ... IN BG

ELLIE:

I know, you told us at supper. (SHUDDERS) Makes ya shiver.

JOE:

Oh, don't worry. He won't get away with it.

MUSIC:

TOPS SCENE FOR A TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG, OUT GENTLY AT [X]

JOE:

(NARRATES) We left the lights of Beverly Hills behind us and I turned into Coldwater Canyon. It's as quick a way as any to get us across the Hollywood Hills to the Valley. It's dark in the canyon -- quiet -- with mighty little traffic at night. I flipped my lights up full and we swept up the side of the ridge.

SOUND:

CAR ENGINE, IN BG

NEWSCASTER:

(FILTER, READS THE NEWS INDECIPHERABLY, IN BG)

JOE:

(NARRATES) The news program came on, but I didn't pay much attention; the fellow was talking about brush fires. [X] They'd already put out the one near my place, though they were still patrolling it. We were over the ridge and sliding down to the Valley before the program got to the part I wanted to hear.

NEWSCASTER:

(FILTER, UP) ... the latest news on the New Hampshire Murderer.

ELLIE:

Oh. There it is.

JOE:

Yeah. Put it up higher, Ellie.

NEWSCASTER:

(FILTER) Two weeks ago, Louis Mattrick wiped out an entire family in Greenlea, New Hampshire. Today, he was spotted three thousand miles from the scene of his crime. At five-thirty this afternoon, a patrolman saw and definitely identified Mattrick in downtown Los Angeles. However, by darting through heavy traffic at the risk of his life, the killer was again able to make his escape. According to neighbors of the slaughtered family, Mattrick first appeared in Greenlea about a year ago. From fingerprints in the Noland home, Louis Mattrick has been identified as Lloyd Matthews, ex-convict. He is wanted for questioning in the robbery and murder of a New York storekeeper a year ago -- a crime that netted the killer less than twenty dollars. Mattrick, or Matthews, is thirty-two years old; height, five feet nine inches; weight, one hundred and fifty-five pounds. He has blue eyes, light brown hair, nose slanted to the left. When seen this afternoon, he was wearing a blue suit and gray porkpie hat. He--

SOUND:

RADIO CLICKS OFF ... LEAVING ONLY CAR ENGINE IN BG

ELLIE:

Awful. Just awful.

JOE:

Not pretty, no.

ELLIE:

Somewhere around L.A. this minute. (BEAT) Joe?

JOE:

Hm?

ELLIE:

Do you think it's right us leaving Annie and Bud all alone while we--?

JOE:

Oh, now, Ellen, Annie's grown up, and Bud can take care of himself. You can't wrap those kids in cotton wool.

ELLIE:

I know. (CHUCKLES) I'm silly, I guess. Neighbors close all around; all they'd have to do is yell. Joe, what would make a young man do a dreadful thing like that?

JOE:

Could be a lot of things. Maybe he's got a screw loose. Maybe he went nuts over a girl. Maybe he gets a kick out of killing, like some of 'em do.

MATTRICK:

You know all the answers, don't you?

ELLIE:

(STARTLED GASP)

JOE:

(SURPRISED) Hey! What the--?

ELLIE:

(SCARED) Joe!

SOUND:

CAR ENGINE STARTS TO SLOW

MATTRICK:

Keep goin'! Go on, keep goin'! I got a gun here; I'll use it.

SOUND:

CAR ENGINE RETURNS TO CRUISING SPEED ... THEN IN BG

MATTRICK:

Now. Just keep goin' like this and no tricks. Otherwise I'm gonna blow a hole right through your wife's head. (POINTED) I've had experience in these things.

MUSIC:

FOR A FINISH ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

You are listening to "Backseat Driver," tonight's presentation in radio's outstanding theatre of thrills -- SUSPENSE!

MUSIC:

FOR A FINISH ... THEN OUT

[COMMERCIAL OMITTED]

MUSIC:

THEME ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

And now, we bring back to our Hollywood sound stage, Miss Vivi Janiss and Mr. Parley Baer, starring in tonight's production, "Backseat Driver," a tale well calculated to keep you in--

MUSIC:

KNIFE CHORD

ANNOUNCER:

SUSPENSE!

SOUND:

CAR ENGINE ... THEN IN BG

JOE:

(NARRATES) I drove that car like we were skirting the rim of the Grand Canyon with nothing between us and the bottom but a mile of country air. This was it -- the thing that happens to other people, to the ones that end up on slabs in the morgue. But not to me. Not to Ellie.

SOUND:

ANOTHER CAR PASSES SLOWLY, [HONKS AND] THEN DRIVES OFF

JOE:

(NARRATES) First car we'd seen since we left traffic swooped down behind us. It passed, but not before the headlights caught our passenger clean in my rearview mirror. He was hunched forward sitting on the edge of the backseat so's he could keep the gun rammed into the nape of Ellie's neck. He had light brown hair, pale eyes, and a nose that slanted. His mouth twitched, jittery. As the car went by, his eyes caught mine in the mirror and flickered.

MATTRICK:

Keep your eyes on the road!

JOE:

Sure. Sure. (BEAT) Lose your hat?

MATTRICK:

Bright boy, huh? Like I said, you know all the answers. Naw, I didn't lose it, I stuffed it down a drain.

JOE:

Still wearing the blue suit, though.

MATTRICK:

I figure to change pretty quick now. Think yours'll fit me?

ELLIE:

You can have the suit. And the car. Just let us--

JOE:

(CAUTIONS HER) Ellen--

ELLIE:

[But, Joe, it's Mattrick!

MATTRICK:

The missus is bright, too.

ELLIE:

He crawled in here while we were in the movies. Joe, you should have that car door fixed. You know better.

JOE:

Honey, I meant to. I was going to attend to it--]

MATTRICK:

Shut up. Let's see if you can both be bright enough to keep your traps shut. Turn left on Ventura, take the slow lane. Don't try playin' no tricks; I've been here before.

JOE:

Okay by me.

MATTRICK:

That's real white of ya. Straight out to open country, mac. Then I'll take the missus up on that offer; the suit and car.

ELLIE:

What happens to us?

MATTRICK:

Why, you just walk home. What else? Play it safe and ya ain't got a thing to worry about.

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG, OUT GENTLY AT [X]

JOE:

(NARRATES, DRY) [That was a laugh, that was.] Nothing to worry about. (CONTEMPTUOUS CHUCKLE) Once we got out into open country, we didn't have a chance of walkin' away from that car. All a murderer can hope for is time. He doesn't leave witnesses around to get the law on his tail one second sooner than necessary. [X]

SOUND:

CAR ENGINE, IN BG

JOE:

(NARRATES) All I could do was stall, and - pray. And make what feeble gestures I could at Lady Luck. The thing that came into my mind was so risky it brought my hair up on end. But there was a chance -- provided that trigger finger didn't start jerking. In the bright lights of the Boulevard, I didn't think he'd notice. But a traffic officer would.

SOUND:

CAR TURNS CORNER ... BOULEVARD TRAFFIC

JOE:

(NARRATES) I turned into Ventura and took the far lane -- obedient as a whipped pup. We must have made two or three miles before I heard what I was hoping for.

SOUND:

POLICE SIREN ... OFF, BUT COMING CLOSER DURING FOLLOWING--

MATTRICK:

What's that?

JOE:

Hm? (BEAT, CASUAL) An ambulance, I guess. We hear a lot of 'em here in the Valley.

MATTRICK:

That ain't no ambulance. It's a motorcycle cop!

ELLIE:

Joe? It's young Mike Kennedy. He patrols this stretch.

MATTRICK:

(SAVAGE) Look, what are you up to?! What are you trying to pull?!

JOE:

Nothing. The kid's a friend of ours.

MATTRICK:

Ya think you can get me easy, huh?! I warned ya, I ain't goin' alone. You asked for it--!

JOE:

Listen! Listen, will ya? The kid lives near us! Practically grew up under our feet. All he wants is to pass the time of day, or maybe send a message to our Annie.

MATTRICK:

Yeah?

JOE:

Yeah! You start poppin' now and we'll all be dead. Keep your shirt on and I'll get rid of him.

MATTRICK:

Okay. But, buddy, it better be good.

MUSIC:

BIG ACCENT TOPS THE SCENE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

JOE:

(NARRATES) I pulled over to the curb and Mike came up alongside. He sat balancing the bike between his knees and the grin on his face was a mile wide. It had worked. At least, we were still alive and Mike wasn't two feet away. But where do we go from here? I had to think, but my brain was wet wool and my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth.

SOUND:

BOULEVARD TRAFFIC BACKGROUND

MIKE:

(BUSINESSLIKE) Good evening, sir-- (SUDDENLY AMUSED) Well, what do you know?! If it isn't Uncle Joe! (LAUGHS)

JOE:

(FEIGNS BEWILDERMENT) Something - funny, kid?

MIKE:

Well, after all the times you've read us the riot act about "observing the letter of the law." (CHUCKLES) Oh, brother, wait till I tell Annie.

ELLIE:

What's the matter with you, Mike? I didn't notice anything wrong.

MIKE:

Hi, Aunt Ellie. Oh, nothin' much the matter. Just Uncle Joe, here, proceeding sedately out the Boulevard with his headlights up full.

JOE:

Headlights? By golly, that's right. I - I must've forgotten to dim 'em.

MIKE:

Well, we oughtn't to forget these things. Some day a big, bad cop might come along and haul you off to the sta-- (SEES MATTRICK) Oh. Oh, hello.

ELLIE:

(QUICKLY) This is our new neighbor, Mike. Mr. Anderson.

MIKE:

That right? Well, glad to meet you, sir.

MATTRICK:

Hello.

MIKE:

I didn't know there were any vacancies out our way.

JOE:

(CAREFULLY) Well, there weren't, until recently. Uh, Mr. Anderson has taken the Charles' place.

MIKE:

The Charles' place? You kiddin'?

JOE:

No. At last, it looks like things got too much for Old Man Charles. He's clearing out for good.

MIKE:

(PUZZLED) Kinda sudden, wasn't it?

JOE:

Yeah, I guess so.

MIKE:

Aw, that's too bad. For Old Man Charles, I mean. (PLEASANTLY) Mighty nice for Mr. Anderson, though. Good places are hard to find these days. All right, Uncle Joe. I'll let you off this time. (CHUCKLES, MOVING OFF) Give my love to Annie.

JOE:

(SUDDENLY, CALLS) Mike?

MIKE:

(OFF) Yes, sir?

MATTRICK:

(LOW, MENACING) Watch it.

JOE:

Nothing.

SOUND:

MOTORCYCLE ENGINE STARTS, PULLS UP TO CAR

JOE:

Come see us soon, boy. Always glad to have you.

MIKE:

Aw, thanks. I'll be 'round my next night off. Got a date with Annie. (MOVING OFF) Well, so long.

SOUND:

MOTORCYCLE DRIVES OFF

MUSIC:

FOR A TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

JOE:

(NARRATES, SIGH) Yeah. That was that. Mike turned his bike and headed back down the Boulevard. The chance had come and gone. But it felt to me like half my mind went off with that boy yelling at him. Must have been half a minute before I could pull myself together and ease back into traffic.

Nobody said anything. I - I didn't dare to. Neither did Ellie. I couldn't see her, but I could feel her holding herself stiff as a ramrod, scared even to turn her head. When two people have lived together as long as we have, each one knows what the other one's thinking.

I went back to driving. And praying. That, and cutting my eyes up to the mirror, just in case there might be a white motorcycle eye following us. There wasn't, of course. In the back, I knew he was watching, too -- those flickering eyes darting like lightning between us and the rear window.

[He was too busy checking to talk. Not that that helped much. Rage and fear were pouring out of him so thick, you could have grabbed a hunk of the atmosphere in your hand.

It was queer to drive along like that on the crowded highway -- traffic streaming both ways, lights from drug stores and cocktail joints and eating houses blazing to the sky -- and to know if I lifted a finger for help, I'd sign our death warrants. It had to be luck -- all luck. There was still a chance I'd get it.]

The way I'd figured it, we'd started out with just about enough gas to get us back to Bill's station. When we hit that, the meter ought to show empty. The gas gauge was hidden from me by the rim of the steering wheel, but I was pretty sure I was right. I waited until I saw the red and green lights above Bill's pumps a block and a half away and then very slow and easy, I slumped over for a peek at the gauge. I leaned just a little too far.

SOUND:

CAR ENGINE, IN BG

MATTRICK:

Sit up!

JOE:

Sure.

MATTRICK:

What now? What were you lookin' at?

JOE:

I was just easing the crick out of my neck.

MATTRICK:

Yes, you was. You were lookin' at the dash. You-- (REALIZES) So that's it, huh? Fresh out o' gas.

JOE:

Now, look, I just remembered it.

MATTRICK:

Don't gimme that! You knew it all along! From now on, you keep your hands on the wheel, mac, but let me do the drivin'! Turn into that filling station, get high test gas and fill 'er up.

SOUND:

CAR SLOWS, TURNS INTO STATION, BRAKES TO A STOP ... ENGINE OUT ... BILL'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

BILL:

Hi, Joe! Evening, Ellie.

JOE:

Hi, Bill.

ELLIE:

Evening, Bill.

BILL:

(SEES MATTRICK) Oh. Evenin', sir.

MATTRICK:

Yeah.

BILL:

Up to the top?

JOE:

Er, yep. Ethyl.

BILL:

Ethyl it is. (MOVING OFF) Hear you been to the pictures.

SOUND:

BILL PUMPS GAS DURING FOLLOWING--

JOE:

Er, yeah.

MATTRICK:

(LOW) You people know everybody in the whole Valley?

ELLIE:

Well, we've lived here twenty years, back when this was farmland. Course we know lots of people.

MATTRICK:

(LOW) I don't like it. Just get five and get out of here.

JOE:

(CALLS) Uh, make it five, Bill.

BILL:

(OFF) Okay. Say, I was up to Miranda's for supper.

JOE:

Oh? That right?

BILL:

Boy, her chili gets better every time. Don't see how it can, but it does. (FINISHES PUMPING GAS) She's savin' some for you, you know. Said you'd be around after the show.

ELLIE:

(LOW) Oh, my. I saw Miranda this afternoon and told her we'd be by for sure, Joe.

BILL:

(CLOSER) Well, that'll be a dollar fifty on the nose.

SOUND:

JOE HANDS OVER BILL AND COINS

JOE:

Dollar and a half. Here. Thanks, Bill.

BILL:

Well, same to you.

SOUND:

CAR STARTS AND DRIVES OFF ... CAR ENGINE, IN BG

MATTRICK:

What was all that about? That Miranda stuff?

JOE:

Nothin' much.

MATTRICK:

Come on, come on! I got to ask you everything twice?!

JOE:

Miranda runs a drive-in up the road a ways. On show nights, we usually drop in for a carton o' chili to take home.

ELLIE:

I just hope she won't call home when we don't show up and get Annie all worried.

MATTRICK:

Wait a minute. Drive-in, you said?

JOE:

Yeah.

MATTRICK:

And this Miranda could start checkin' on ya?

ELLIE:

Oh, no, I didn't mean that; it's just that--

MATTRICK:

She could call your Annie, and between the two of 'em, they'd have the cops on the lookout for ya before midnight, huh?

JOE:

Aw, you're crazy.

MATTRICK:

Yeah, like a fox! I ain't kept ahead of the buttons all this time by takin' chances. We'll just pick up that chili, mac.

JOE:

You want me to go to Miranda's?

MATTRICK:

Why not? Leave Annie get her beauty sleep. I can cover a lot of ground before tomorrow mornin'. I ain't eatin' so good lately; I could use the food, too. And with you and the missus to front for me, what's to worry about?

MUSIC:

FOR A TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

JOE:

(NARRATES) He was right about that. I went back to driving - and praying. Miranda's place was one of those goldfish bowls -- mostly glass, with light pouring out across the space marked for outside service. She saw us pulling up and grabbed a quart carton off the back shelf and hustled to the door.

SOUND:

DRIVE-IN DOOR OPENS ... MIRANDA'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH BEHIND--

MIRANDA:

(APPROACHES, HANDS OVER CARTON) Here you are, Ellie. I was just sayin' to Betsy, "Better fix up that chili, Betsy. It's about time Ellie and Joe were showin' up," figurin' the distance from Beverly Hills. (FLIRTATIOUS) Ohhhh, who's that in the back seat? I don't seem to recollect your face, young man. Though anybody'll tell ya, I never forget a face.

ELLIE:

Well, this is Mr. Anderson, Miranda. He just - came out from the east.

MIRANDA:

Oh, is that a fact? Say, Joe -- you plannin' to go straight up Ventura home?

JOE:

Why, sure.

MIRANDA:

Well, don't you do it. Go the back way, even if it does take longer. Course, that brush fire between here and your place is out. But there's still fifty, sixty men patrollin' it.

MATTRICK:

What's that?

MIRANDA:

But that ain't nothin' to what's goin' on further out the Valley. That new fire's clean out o' control -- lickin' up hundreds of acres. They've been sendin' truckloads of firefighters past here all evening. Road's blocked for miles, they tell me.

MATTRICK:

The road is blocked?

MIRANDA:

For miles, they tell me. All them poor ranchers losin' their homes. Bein' from the East, mister, you wouldn't understand, but brush fires is awful things once they get out o' control.

MATTRICK:

Yeah, yeah. Thanks. (CASUAL, TO JOE) Er, Joe, suppose we start movin', huh? Let's take the back way to your house.

ELLIE:

To our house?

MIRANDA:

(INTERESTED) What say? You stayin' with Ellie and Joe?

MATTRICK:

Yeah, until the road-- Er, until I can get into my own place. (BEAT, TO JOE) What are we waiting for, Joe?

JOE:

Uh, good night, Miranda.

ELLIE:

Good night.

SOUND:

CAR STARTS BEHIND--

MIRANDA:

Well, goodbye. (FLIRTY, TO MATTRICK) Be sure you come see me, Mr. Anderson; I'll be lookin' for ya.

MUSIC:

FOR A TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

JOE:

(NARRATES) So there it was. We weren't going to the country. We weren't going to be left to rot at the foot of a cliff or buried deep in brush. No, we were going home. Home to the kids. And takin' a murderer with us. I still couldn't see Ellie, but I could feel her tensing up, tight as a pulled drawstring.

SOUND:

CAR ENGINE, IN BG

ELLIE:

Mr. Mattrick, you - didn't mean what you said, did you, about comin' home with us?

MATTRICK:

Do you know a better place I can hide out until the road's open?

ELLIE:

It wouldn't be safe. We've got neighbors close all 'round. If somebody'd see you--

MATTRICK:

Nobody's gonna see me. Nobody better.

ELLIE:

Joe, couldn't we go 'round the fire?

JOE:

(QUICKLY) Yeah. Yeah, we could. That'd be better. We could try. There are other roads through the Valley. Now, listen, Mattrick, we'll nose around and find a way through somehow.

MATTRICK:

Cut it out! You heard the old biddy. Hundreds of acres burnin', firefighters, cops. Get off the highway, we're goin' home.

ELLIE:

(PANICS) No! No, I won't have it! Joe, you stop the car right here.

MATTRICK:

Shut up!

ELLIE:

You heard me, Joe. I won't have him in my house, not with Annie and Bud.

MATTRICK:

I said, shut up!

JOE:

(WARNING) Ellen!

ELLIE:

Stop it, I tell you! It doesn't matter about us! It's the kids; I won't let him touch them!

MATTRICK:

One more word out o' you and I'm gonna--!

ELLIE:

Joe, stop!

JOE:

(URGENT) Ellen, shut up!

ELLIE:

(STARTS TO WEEP) Oh, Joe! (WEEPS, IN BG)

JOE:

(CALMLY) Now, don't say another thing. I'm - I'm sorry, honey, but Mattrick's the boss. We've gotta do like he says.

ELLIE:

(SNIFFLES, STOPS WEEPING BEHIND--)

MATTRICK:

(SATISFIED) Yeah. That's tellin' her. (CHUCKLES) Sure, you do like I say and everything's gonna be rosy. You got no call to worry about the kids; I like kids. As long as nobody gives me the brush off. We'll wake 'em up soon as we get home. You and this Annie can fix up a chili supper for us. (CHUCKLES) We'll have a picnic. And, as soon as the fire's out, we'll all take a trip to the country. (BEAT, WRY) Another picnic, huh? [(LAUGHS)]

MUSIC:

FOR A TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

JOE:

(NARRATES) [You keep going. As long as you're breathing, you keep going. Even when it looks like there's no way out, you hang on by your toenails. We poked up and down those black Valley streets that twist and turn and, sometimes, wind up in dead ends. Ellie stopped crying after a while. She slumped down with her head rolling on the seat back, limp as a rag doll with the stuffing leaked out.]

It took a long time, but it had to come to an end. I saw the bulk of the house looming up. There was light sneakin' around the edges of the blinds, up in Annie's room. She wasn't asleep, after all. She'd been settin' up in bed, maybe plastering red stuff on her fingers and dreamin' about the date with Mike. Bud's room was dark. He'd be wrapped in covers like a cocoon and dreamin'-- Whatever boys dream; I couldn't remember. I pulled up to the concrete walk I'd poured with my own hands, before there was any Annie or Bud, and then I cut the lights.

SOUND:

NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND (CRICKETS, ET CETERA)

JOE:

(NARRATES) In a second or two, my eyes got used to the dark. I could make out the high hedge Ellie planted around the place and our roof rising up beyond it.

MATTRICK:

Out, missus. Face the house.

SOUND:

CAR DOOR OPENS ... ELLIE CLIMBS OUT

MATTRICK:

Now you, mac. Slide out the same side, stand beside her.

SOUND:

JOE SLIDES OVER AND CLIMBS OUT ... MATTRICK OPENS CAR DOOR, CLIMBS OUT ... MATTRICK SHUTS THE TWO CAR DOORS ... THEN, THEIR FOOTSTEPS TOWARD HOUSE BEHIND--

MATTRICK:

All right. Walk to the door. Slow; no funny business; I'm right behind ya.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS TOWARD HOUSE, FILLS A PAUSE, THEN OUT WITH--

OFFICER:

(OFF) Look out, Joe!

JOE:

Get down, Ellie!

MATTRICK:

I'LL KILL YOU! I'LL KILL Y--!

SOUND:

FOUR GUNSHOTS -- BANG, BANG! BANG, BANG! ... SCRAMBLE! OF POLICE OFFICERS' FOOTSTEPS ON CONCRETE

MIKE:

(OFF) Hold him, boys!

OFFICER:

It's okay, Mike. I got him!

MIKE:

(CLOSER) You all right, Uncle Joe? Aunt Ellie?

JOE:

Ellie? Ellie, you all right?

ELLIE:

(NOT SCARED, ANNOYED) All right, indeed! Smack flat on my face on a concrete walk and you fallin' on me!

MIKE:

(CHUCKLES, DRY) There's nothin' wrong with her.

JOE:

(LAUGHS) That's my girl.

ELLIE:

Well, just don't stand there, help me up.

JOE:

Here.

ELLIE:

(GRUNTS, AS SHE GETS UP)

JOE:

(WITH EFFORT) There we are.

ELLIE:

(MOVING OFF, MATTER-OF-FACT) Got to get in the house before the kids come bustin' out here. I won't have them mixed up in this.

SOUND:

ELLIE'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

JOE:

Well, how's he doin', boy?

MIKE:

I got him through the gun hand and the right shoulder, see?

MATTRICK:

(WITH EFFORT) Lucky shot, cop. If you weren't lucky, you'd all be cold meat by now.

MIKE:

Maybe. Mattrick, isn't it, Uncle Joe?

JOE:

That's him. Miranda described him to you?

MIKE:

Mmm. The old girl doesn't miss a trick. She even knew you were takin' the back way home. You left a clear trail, Uncle Joe. That's slick work.

JOE:

I had to get him out of the car before the fireworks started. Ellie didn't stand a chance. She helped, though. Ellie catches on quick.

MIKE:

I'll bet.

JOE:

Mean guy like Mattrick, ya make him think you don't want him to do somethin' and he'll break his neck doin' it. I let on how I was tryin' to run out of gas. That got us to Bill's. Then we both made out there was no sense goin' to Miranda's, so we get bulled into going to Miranda's. It was a thousand-to-one she'd run off at the mouth about the brush fires and scare him into hidin' out. After that, all Ellie had to do was turn on the hysterics and he was dead set on comin' here.

MATTRICK:

(BITTER) Yeah, yeah. Bright boy, like I said.

JOE:

Bright enough. You did all right, too, Mike. I was watchin' the rearview mirror all the time you were trailin' us, but you never showed.

MIKE:

You knew I was there, though. When one officer starts double-talkin' another officer, he wants to know why.

MATTRICK:

What officer? What double-talk? You never said a thing to him except that I bought some place out here.

MIKE:

Yeah. The Charles' place.

JOE:

(AMUSED) Yeah, poor Old Man Charles -- in a tough spot; movin' out for good!

MATTRICK:

What's wrong with that?

JOE:

Mattrick, didn't anybody ever tell you it wasn't smart to take up with strangers? Maybe I'd better introduce myself. My name's Charles. Joe Charles. Detective. Homicide. Tonight I was off-duty; just takin' my wife to a movie.

MUSIC:

FOR A LIGHT, LEISURELY FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

SUSPENSE!

MUSIC:

KNIFE CHORD

ANNOUNCER:

In which Mr. Parley Baer and Miss Vivi Janiss starred in tonight's presentation of "Backseat Driver." Next week, the story of twin identities in crime. It is based upon fact. We call it, "The Greatest Thief in the World." That's next week on--

MUSIC:

KNIFE CHORD

ANNOUNCER:

SUSPENSE!

MUSIC:

CLOSING MARCH ... TILL END

ANNOUNCER:

SUSPENSE is produced and directed by Antony Ellis. Tonight's script was written by Miss Sally Thorson. The music was composed by René Garriguenc and conducted by Wilbur Hatch. Featured in the cast were Larry Thor, Tony Barrett, Jack Edwards, Joe Cranston and Helen Kleeb.

CBS ANNCR:

The Stars' Address is the CBS Radio Network!