Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Dragnet
Show: The Big Sisters
Date: May 31 1955

CAST:

The Dragnet Team:
FENN, announcer
GIRL
GIBNEY, announcer
SINGING GROUP

The Drama:
SGT. JOE FRIDAY, of the Los Angeles Police Department
OFFICER FRANK SMITH, Joe's partner
MARTHA DUNBETTER, age 79
TINA MILLOT, young actress-model
RALPH PORTLONG, suspect
VOICE, at the police station
BESSIE MAXON, Martha's sister, age 80

FENN:

(COLD) Chesterfield brings you Dragnet.

MUSIC:

HARP AND UP

GIRL:

Put a smile in your smoking.

GIBNEY:

Buy Chesterfield. So smooth.....so satisfying.... Chesterfield.

MUSIC:

SIGNATURE

FENN:

(EASILY) Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

MUSIC:

UP AND FADE FOR:

FENN:

(EASILY) You're a detective sergeant. You're assigned to Burglary Detail. An elderly woman reports that a man has stolen three hundred dollars from her apartment. She says she saw him. Your job.....check it out.

MUSIC:

UP AND FADE FOR:

FIRST COMMERCIAL

MUSIC:

HARP UP AND OUT

GIRL:

Put a smile in your smoking!

FENN:

Next time you buy cigarettes....Stop....Remember this.... In the whole wide world, no cigarette satisfies like Chesterfield.

GIRL:

Put a smile in your smoking!

MUSIC:

VIBRA HARP STINGS

FENN:

Instantly, you'll smile your approval of Chesterfield smoothness.

GIRL:

So smooth....so satisfying!

MUSIC:

STINGS OUT

FENN:

You want them mild. We make them mild! Mild and mellow with the smooth and refreshing taste of the right combination of the world's best tobaccos. So next time you buy cigarettes....

GROUP:

(SHOUT) STOP!

WOODBLOCK:

TRIPLET FIGURE

GROUP:

(SING) START SMOKING WITH A SMILE WITH CHESTERFIELD
SMILING ALL THE WHILE WITH CHESTERFIELD
PUT A SMILE IN YOUR SMOKING - JUST GIVE 'EM A TRY
LIGHT UP A CHESTERFIELD!

WOODBLOCK:

TRIPLET FIGURE

GROUP:

THEY SATISFY!

MUSIC:

THEME:

GIBNEY:

Dragnet, the documented drama of an actual crime. For the next 30 minutes, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Police Department, you will travel step by step on the side of the law through an actual case, transcribed from official police files. From beginning to end....from crime to punishment.....Dragnet is the story of your police force in action.

MUSIC:

UP TO SEMI BUTTON AND FADE ON SUSTAINED CHORD

SOUND:

JOE AND FRANK WALK ALONG SIDEWALK....THEN UP TWO OR THREE STEPS:

JOE: It was Thursday, May 19th. It was sunny in Los Angeles. We were working the day watch out of Burglary Detail. My partner's Frank Smith. The boss is Captain Barnard. My name's Friday. We were on our way out from the office and it was 3:47 PM when we got to a small apartment house on the corner of Olympic and Sixth..... (SOUND: ... OPEN DOOR)....the Topeka Arms.

SOUND:

JOE AND FRANK STEP INSIDE. .... DOOR CLOSES BEHIND THEM ... STEPS STOP

FRANK:

What was the lady's name again, Joe?

JOE:

Dunbetter......Martha Dunbetter.

FRANK:

Let's see......oh, yeah, here's her mailbox......Number 8.

JOE:

Must be upstairs.

FRANK:

How do you figure that?

JOE:

Only eight mail slots. Means eight apartments.

FRANK:

Yeah?

JOE:

Stands to reason Number 8 will be on the second floor, doesn't it?

FRANK:

Oh. Well, I suppose so.

SOUND:

THEY TAKE A COUPLE OF STEPS....THEN MOUNT STAIRS...REACH THE TOP AND WALK DOWN THE HALL UNDER.....

FRANK:

Wonder who comes from Kansas?

JOE:

Hmm?

FRANK:

Didn't you notice the plaque out in front -- Topeka Arms?

JOE:

Yeah.

FRANK:

That's a city in Kansas, Joe -- Topeka, Kansas.

JOE:

Sure.

FRANK:

Well, somebody must've come from there -- the owner or the builder -- why else would they give the place a name like that?

JOE:

I dunno.

FRANK:

Stands to reason, doesn't it?

JOE:

I guess so.

FRANK:

You see you're not the only one who can do it.

JOE:

Do what?

FRANK:

Deduce.

JOE:

Oh.

FRANK:

That's what they call it -- the way you figured out Number 8 is on the second floor. Deduction.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

FRANK:

I was just giving you another example....when I proved that somebody connected with the building used to live in Kansas.

JOE:

Yeah.

FRANK:

Deduction. Works all the time.

BEAT

FRANK:

See.....right down there -- Number 8 -- just like you said.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

FRANK:

Never fails.

SOUND:

COUPLE MORE STEPS.....THEN TO A STOP..... KNOCK ON DOOR....

MARTHA:

(THRU DOOR) Who's there?

JOE:

Police officers, ma'am.

MARTHA:

Oh, just a second. I'm coming. I'm coming.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS:

MARTHA:

(AS THE DOOR OPENS) (SHE IS SEVENTY-NINE YEARS OLD) My goodness, you certainly got back in -- oh, dear me, you aren't the same ones, are you?

JOE:

No, ma'am. This is Frank Smith. My name's Friday.

MARTHA:

There were two other policemen here, just a little while ago. Tsk..... Tsk...... it's a shame you didn't know. You could have saved yourselves a trip.

FRANK:

That's all right. We knew they'd be here.

MARTHA:

You did?

FRANK:

Yes, ma'am.

JOE:

They're patrol car officers. They were in the neighborhood so they answered your call.

MARTHA:

Well, I just don't see why you had to bother yourselves, too.

JOE:

It's no bother, ma'am. All right if we come in?

MARTHA:

Oh, my yes, please do.

SOUND:

THEY MOVE INTO THE APARTMENT.....CLOSE DOOR BEHIND THEM....

MARTHA:

Just imagine.....all four of you trying to help me get my money back. Certainly makes a body feel important.

JOE:

Did the other officers say where they were going?

MARTHA:

I'm not sure. I wasn't able to follow everything they said.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

MARTHA:

Something about a canvas. Yes, I believe that was the word.

JOE:

They meant they were going to canvas the area for the suspect.

MARTHA:

Suspect?

JOE:

The man who stole your money.

MARTHA:

Oh, but I don't just suspect him, officer. I know he did it. I saw him.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am. You're Missus Martha Dunbetter. Is that right?

MARTHA:

No -- not exactly.

JOE:

Oh?

MARTHA:

It's -- it's Miss Dunbetter. I'm still single.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

FRANK:

Would you mind telling us just what happened this afternoon, Miss Dunbetter?

MARTHA:

Oh, no, I don't mind at all. It's still quite clear.

FRANK:

Yes, ma'am.

MARTHA:

You see when a person gets to be my age, well, sometimes-- you aren't able to remember every little detail.

FRANK:

Uh-huh.

MARTHA:

But a thing like this -- it sort-a sticks out.

FRANK:

Sure.

JOE:

Go ahead please.

MARTHA:

What was that, young man?

JOE:

Go ahead -- about this afternoon.

MARTHA:

Oh, well....now let's see. I fixed myself some lunch. And then I rid up the dishes. It must have been about one o'clock by the time I finished.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am.

MARTHA:

Afterwards I put on my hat and went down to the library. It's only a couple of blocks from here -- the Grover Cleveland branch.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

MARTHA:

I took back my books and checked out two fresh ones. There isn't much of a selection -- it's a small branch.

JOE:

I see.

MARTHA:

Of course they're very nice to me. I've been going there for quite a spell.

JOE:

Sure.

MARTHA:

And they'll order things from down-town if you ask them to. But then you have to wait several days and I wanted some reading matter for now.

JOE:

(GRUNTS)

MARTHA:

So I picked out two novels -- actually they're stories I've read before -- but I'll enjoy them just the same and I won't have to concentrate quite so much.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am. What happened next?

MARTHA:

I came home and there he was.

JOE:

Ma'am?

MARTHA:

That awful man.

JOE:

Oh. Well, just where was he?

MARTHA:

Here. In my apartment.

JOE:

I meant which room.

MARTHA:

Over there. The bedroom.

JOE:

I see.

MARTHA:

I guess he didn't hear me let myself in. I always try to move around as quietly as possible. Even in the afternoons --- people sometimes like to take a nap.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

MARTHA:

Not that you can do much napping in this building. Radios blasting, television, victrola records. Why, that girl downstairs even has a dog. A dog in an apartment house -- it isn't fair to the animal let alone the other tenants.

JOE:

(GRUNTS) You said this man was in your bedroom?

MARTHA:

Yes, that's right. That's where he was. As soon as I came in I heard him -- at least I heard somebody moving around. At first I thought it was Mrs. Parker, the manager. I know she sneaks into my apartment and noses around. Of course she says she doesn't but I know better.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

MARTHA:

Well, I said to myself, I've got her red-handed this time. So I marched into the bedroom all ready to give her a piece of my mind.

JOE:

(GRUNTS)

MARTHA:

I was never so flabberghasted in my whole life. He was standing in front of the dresser going through my pocketbook.

JOE:

I see.

MARTHA:

My black patent-leather-- that's the one he was holding.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

MARTHA:

I didn't say anything -- not at first. I was too taken aback. But I guess I must have made a noise. Anyway he turned around -- all of a sudden. And when he looked at me, my voice sort-a came up into my mouth. "What are you doing here?" I asked him point-blank. "Just what do you think you're doing?" He didn't answer. He only grinned and went on going through my hand-bag. I suppose he figured I was a harmless old lady and couldn't stop him.

FRANK:

How much money was in the purse?

MARTHA:

I'm not positive -- not to the penny. About three hundred dollars.

FRANK:

In cash?

MARTHA:

Yes, sir. You see I've been saving dimes -- for the last fifteen years.

FRANK:

You mean this three hundred dollars was in dimes?

MARTHA:

Goodness gracious, no. What I do is go through my change every night and put all the dimes in my dime-bank. Then when it's full I take it down to a real bank and change the coins into bills. The dime bank holds twenty-five dollars.

FRANK:

I see.

MARTHA:

You'd be surprised how much a person can save that way. It mounts up.

FRANK:

Yes, ma'am. Do you know the denominations of the bills?

MARTHA:

I guess they were mostly tens. Maybe one or two bigger ones.

JOE:

Why'd you keep that much cash on hand?

MARTHA:

When you're my age you never know what's going to happen. A person gets sick, has to go to a hospital. You need cash at a time like that.

JOE:

Uh-huh. Now what did this man do next, Miss Dunbetter?

MARTHA:

Well, he found the money -- my three hundred dollars -- and stuffed it into his pockets. That's where I kept it -- in my black patent-leather.

JOE:

I see.

MARTHA:

I told him if he didn't put it back I'd call the police. That didn't seem to worry him a bit. "Afraid I won't be able to stick around til they get here, Granny," that's what he said to me. Then he just strolled out of the apartment as big as life. I was too dumbfounded to do anything about it.

JOE:

I understand.

MARTHA:

I heard him tramp down the stairs and then I heard the front door slam. When I was sure he was out of the building I managed to get my wits together and I dialed Central.

JOE:

Central?

MARTHA:

The operator. She put me in touch with the police station.

FRANK:

Had you ever seen this man before, Miss Dunbetter?

MARTHA:

No, I'm sure I never did.

FRANK:

Could you tell us what he looked like?

MARTHA:

I told the other officers.

FRANK:

Yes, ma'am. We'd like to hear it too.

MARTHA:

Well, he was a tall man.

JOE:

How tall?

MARTHA:

As big as you I'd say.

FRANK:

What color hair?

MARTHA:

Dark -- very dark.

FRANK:

Eyes?

MARTHA:

Dark eyes, too. Dark complected. Like he'd spent a lot of time outdoors.

JOE:

How was he dressed?

MARTHA:

A shirt and pants and a jacket -- a light-colored jacket -- I think it was green.

JOE:

Did you notice any scars?

MARTHA:

Yes, come to think of it, I did. Across his forehead. A thin little ziggedy-zag.

FRANK:

How old would you say he was?

MARTHA:

Oh, he was young -- thirty-five -- maybe forty.

JOE:

Do you know if anyone else saw him -- the other tenants?

MARTHA:

I haven't talked to any of them -- I haven't left the apartment since it happened.

JOE:

You live alone, do you?

MARTHA:

Oh, my, no, my sister Bessie stays with me.

JOE:

Where is she this afternoon?

MARTHA:

She went out of town for a few days -- to visit her grand-son and his family. They came down from Oxnard this morning to get her.

JOE:

I see.

MARTHA:

Tomorrow's her birthday. She'll be eighty. I expect they're going to have quite a celebration.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am.

MARTHA:

Of course they invited me along. But I didn't want to intrude. After all it's Bessie's birthday. Not mine.

JOE:

Sure.

MARTHA:

When I turn eighty I don't suppose anybody will lift a finger to give me a party the way they're all carrying on. You'd think it was such an accomplishment. They're even going to put her picture in the paper and write an article about her.

FRANK:

Well, it's a pretty ripe old age.

MARTHA:

I don't see what's so ripe about it. After all I'm nearly seventy-nine myself. Oh, I know I don't look it. Everybody thinks there's at least ten years between us. And Bessie is failing.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am. Just a couple more questions, Miss Dunbetter.

MARTHA:

Certainly, young man, certainly.

JOE:

What time was it when you got home from the library?

MARTHA:

Two forty-five. Maybe a few minutes after. No later than three though.

JOE:

I see. How did he get into the apartment? Was the door locked?

MARTHA:

I thought it was. I always try to remember to lock it whenever I go out. But sometimes I do forget. I guess I did today.

JOE:

Uh-huh. Do you think you'd recognize the burglar if you saw him again?

MARTHA:

I most assuredly would. There's nothing the matter with my eyesight. It's as good as it ever was. My faculties aren't impaired I'm happy to say.

JOE:

That's fine. We'd like to take you down to the office with us and show you some pictures.

MARTHA:

Oh?

JOE:

To see if you can identify him.

MARTHA:

I couldn't go like this. I'll have to change my dress first. Oh, I'm all right for walking around the neighborhood but not for going downtown.

JOE:

That's up to you, ma'am. Try not to touch anything in the bedroom.

MARTHA:

Why not?

JOE:

We'll have a crew from the crime lab check for fingerprints -- the pocketbook especially.

MARTHA:

Oh. (LITTLE BEAT) Well, I'm sure you won't find any.

JOE:

Ma'am?

MARTHA:

He - he was wearing mittens -- uh, gloves.

JOE:

Well, we'll check anyway.

FRANK:

Say, Miss Dunbetter, while I think of it -- who came from Kansas?

MARTHA:

Kansas?

FRANK:

It doesn't have anything to do with the case. I was kind-a curious that's all.

MARTHA:

I'm afraid I don't understand.

FRANK:

Well, the name of this apartment is the Topeka Arms so I figured somebody connected with it must have come from Kansas.

MARTHA:

Oh.

FRANK:

You don't know who it was, do you?

MARTHA:

Now let me think -- oh, yes, I remember -- that was old Mr. Hendrickson's idea.

FRANK:

You don't say.

MARTHA:

Yes, he was the man who built this building -- that was -- goodness sake -- almost thirty-five years ago. My, how time flies. I just can't believe I've lived here that long. You see I was practically the first person to move in.

FRANK:

Yes, ma'am. And this Mr. Hendrickson came from Kansas, did he?

MARTHA:

No. Minnesota -- Minneapolis, as I recollect.

FRANK:

Oh.

MARTHA:

But it was his idea just the same -- calling it the Topeka Arms. On account of an article he read in the newspaper while the building was going up. Remember him showing it to me. Poor Mr. Hendrickson. Gall bladder.

FRANK:

Ma'am?

MARTHA:

That's what took him -- his gall bladder. Nineteen thirty-six.

FRANK:

Oh.

MARTHA:

The building's never been kept up properly since.

FRANK:

Well, what was his reason for calling it the Topeka Arms?

MARTHA:

That newspaper write-up.

FRANK:

Yes, ma'am.

MARTHA:

It said there were more people in Southern California who came from Kansas than from any other state.

FRANK:

Uh-huh.

MARTHA:

So Mr. Hendrickson figured the name Topeka would attract a lot of tenants. Ridiculous nonsense. I said so at the time. There hasn't been a single solitary one.

FRANK:

Oh?

MARTHA:

Thirty-five years. Not a soul from Kansas has ever lived here.

(END SCENE)

JOE:

4:05 PM Frank and I put in a call to the Crime Lab. While Miss Dunbetter changed her dress, we checked the other apartments to see if anyone else had seen the burglar. On the second floor only one tenant was in. Mrs. J.T. Blade, Apartment 6, informed us that she had been out marketing at the time of the crime and had just returned home. We went down to the first floor and stopped at Apartment One.

SOUND:

KNOCK ON DOOR

TINA:

(THRU DOOR) Who is it?

JOE:

Police officers.

TINA:

Oh, for Pete's sake, come on in.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... DOG YAPS A LITTLE OFF

TINA:

(OFF) And cut out the corney jokes, will you, George. I -- say, who the heck are you?

JOE:

Police officers.

SOUND:

DOG BARKS AND RUNS UP TO JOE AND FRANK

TINA:

(ON) Mickey! Get down, Mickey!! Get away from there!

SOUND:

SHE GRABS THE DOG AND DRAGS HIM OFF

TINA:

(FADING) I'll have shut him in the bedroom or you'll never get a minute's peace. He's just no good with strangers. Now get in there!!

SOUND:

DOG RUNS OFF...SHE SLAMS DOOR

BEAT

TINA:

(FADING ON) Are you guys for real?

JOE:

My name's Friday. This is my partner Frank Smith. Here's the identification.

TINA: Oh. Looks like I goofed. I got such crazy friends. They're always pulling gags.

JOE:

Sure.

FRANK:

Do you rent this apartment, ma'am?

TINA:

That's a matter of opinion. The way the other tenants check up on everything that goes on in here you'd think they was paying the bills.

JOE:

Have you been in all afternoon?

TINA:

All day for that matter. Except for a couple of hours this morning when I went down to the unemployment office to file my claim.

JOE:

I see.

TINA:

I'm a model -- do a little actin' in pictures. Right now I'm havin' a dry spell.

JOE: Uh-huh.

TINA:

Tina Millot -- that's my professional name. You ever hear of me?

JOE:

Afraid not.

TINA:

Lousy press agent. Gonna make me famous overnight. Ten bucks a week I been payin' him for over six months now. If I died he couldn't get me an obituary notice.

JOE:

You're sure you've been here all afternoon?

TINA:

Yeah -- why?

FRANK:

Did you see anybody come into the building around three o'clock?

TINA:

Nope.

JOE: Hear anybody?

TINA:

Fraid I ain't gonna be much use to you. I've got a late date tonight so I was storin' up a little extra sleep-time. Just woke up a few minutes ago.

JOE:

Well, have you noticed any strangers hanging around this neighborhood lately?

TINA:

What kind of strangers?

JOE:

How about a middle-aged man? Tall, dark hair -- scar on his forehead?

TINA:

If he's been around I haven't run into him.

FRANK:

Do you usually keep your door locked?

TINA:

Sure, when I'm out.

FRANK:

Was it locked this afternoon?

TINA:

You walked in, didn't you?

FRANK:

Yes, ma'am.

TINA: What are you guys buildin' up to?

JOE:

One of the tenants has reported a burglary.

TINA:

In this apartment house?

JOE:

That's right.

TINA:

Holy smoke! It'd'be just my luck at a time like this. Now where the heck's my pocketbook? I know I had it with me this morning.....

JOE:

That it over on the desk?

TINA:

(FADING A LITTLE) Oh, yeah, yeah, thanks.

SOUND:

OPEN PURSE A LITTLE OFF..RIFLE THROUGH IT...OPEN COIN PURSE

BEAT

TINA:

(COUNTING BILLS) Five...ten...eleven...(RELIEVED SIGH) Guess it's all here, what little there is. Looks like I got a break for once. That's a switch.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am. Well, sorry if we bothered you.

TINA:

(FADING ON) Hey, wait a minute. You're holdin' out on me.

JOE:

How's that?

TINA:

Who got taken?

JOE:

Oh. Miss Dunbetter -- Apartment Eight.

TINA:

Dunbetter?

JOE:

Uh-huh.

TINA:

Wouldn't you know it. One of the yak-yak girls. Morning, noon and night, yak-yak-yak. They don't even stop for punctuation marks.

JOE: Oh.

TINA:

For the last six months that sister of hers has been jawin' about her eightieth birthday, I'm beginnin' to feel eighty myself. Now they'll have a new subject. Brother, I'll hear about this burglary til it comes out of my ears. You know something, Mister...

JOE:

Hmm?

TINA:

I'd be better off if he'd robbed me.

(END SCENE)

JOE:

Frank and I checked the other three apartments on the first floor. None of the tenants was at home. 4:16 PM the patrol car officers who had answered the call returned to the building. They reported that they had been unable to find anyone answering the suspect's description in the immediate vicinity. A few minutes later Lee Jones and a crew from the crime lab arrived. They began their investigation and we drove Miss Dunbetter down to the city hall. We checked the oddity file and ran the suspect's description and MO through the Staats office and they came up with seventeen possibles. We pulled mug shots and showed them to Miss Dunbetter. She was unable to make an identification. 6:13 PM Lee Jones reported no useful fingerprints or other physical evidence in the apartment. 6:46 PM we drove Miss Dunbetter home and went off duty. The next day, May 20th, 11:17 A.M.

SOUND:

TELEPHONE RINGS

JOE:

I've got it.

SOUND:

COUPLE OF STEPS...PICK UP PHONE

JOE:

Burglary, Friday....Who?....Oh, sure, sure....Yeah....when'd he come in?...Uh-huh.....I see....Oh?.....I dunno, what's he look like?. ..Uh-huh..... Yeah, we'd like to....okay....Thanks a lot.

SOUND:

HANG UP TELEPHONE... COUPLE OF STEPS

JOE:

That was Chub Stark.

FRANK:

Who?

JOE:

You know, Stark, bartender over at the Yellow Cat.

FRANK:

Oh, yeah. What's he want?

JOE:

A guy came into his place last night. He was carrying a pretty big roll. Threw it around, bought drinks for the house.

FRANK:

Uh-huh.

JOE:

Got kind-a loaded. Did some talkin' about how easy he'd picked up the dough. He just walked in again this morning.

FRANK:

Sound like anything to you?

JOE:

Chub says he's about six foot, black hair.

FRANK:

Yeah?

JOE:

Scar on his forehead.

(END SCENE 3)

(END PART 1)

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GIBNEY:

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GROUP:

(JINGLE) PUT A SMILE IN YOUR SMOKING - JUST GIVE 'EM A TRY
LIGHT UP A CHESTERFIELD....

WOODBLOCK:

TRIPLET FIGURE

GROUP:

THEY SATISFY.

MUSIC:

SIGNATURE

JOE:

Frank and I drove out to the Yellow Cat Bar on Figueroa. Chub Stark, the bartender, pointed out a husky man sitting in a corner booth. We went over to talk to him.

SOUND:

STEPS...THEN TO A STOP

FRANK:

Stand up.

RALPH:

Huh?

JOE:

We're police officers. Stand up.

RALPH:

Okay, okay.

SOUND:

FRANK GIVES RALPH A QUICK SEARCH

FRANK:

You can sit down again.

SOUND:

RALPH SITS...FRANK AND JOE SIT ACROSS FROM HIM

RALPH:

Something eatin' you guys?

JOE:

What's your name?

RALPH:

Why?

JOE:

Come on, what is it?

RALPH:

Portlong. Ralph Portlong.

JOE:

Where do you live, Portlong?

RALPH:

Hotel -- around the corner.

JOE:

How long you been staying there?

RALPH:

Since last night.

JOE:

Before that?

RALPH:

Back East. I just got in town yesterday.

JOE:

Whereabouts back East?

RALPH:

What kind of a roust is this?

JOE:

Whereabouts?

RALPH:

All over -- Chicago, Cleveland, all over.

FRANK:

What kind of business you in?

RALPH:

Unemployed.

JOE:

You got any money?

RALPH:

Some.

JOE:

How much?

RALPH:

I ain't no vag if that's what you're getting at.

JOE:

How much?

RALPH:

Hundred bucks. Maybe a hundred and fifty.

JOE:

Where'd you get it?

RALPH:

Borrowed it.

JOE:

Who from?

RALPH:

A pal.

JOE:

In LA?

RALPH:

Chicago.

JOE:

What's his name?

RALPH:

Johnson. Cliff Johnson.

JOE:

Address?

RALPH:

I dunno. He moves around. Same as I do.

JOE:

How you gonna pay him back if you don't know where he lives?

RALPH:

We'll bump into each other.

FRANK:

When was it you got in town, Portlong?

RALPH:

I told you -- yesterday.

FRANK:

What time?

RALPH:

Six o'clock -- somewhere in there.

FRANK:

Yesterday morning?

RALPH:

Last night.

JOE:

You sure of that?

RALPH:

Yeah.

JOE:

How'd you come? Train?

RALPH:

Car.

JOE:

Your own car?

RALPH:

Hitched a ride.

JOE:

Just where were you yesterday afternoon?

RALPH:

Ridin' into LA.

JOE:

All afternoon?

RALPH:

Yeah.

JOE:

What was the driver's name?

RALPH:

How should I know? I been hitchin' for the last week. Must-a rode with twenty different guys.

JOE:

You don't remember the one you were with yesterday?

RALPH:

Huh-uh. (NO)

FRANK:

You ever been arrested, Portlong?

RALPH:

Nothin' serious.

FRANK:

Tell us about it.

RALPH:

Drunk, that's all.

FRANK:

Where was this?

RALPH:

Ohio. When I was a kid.

JOE:

Anything else?

RALPH:

Some speedin' tickets.

JOE:

You ever been arrested in California?

RALPH:

Never been in California.

JOE:

First trip, uh?

RALPH:

Yeah. And you ain't exactly makin' me feel welcome, either.

FRANK:

You know an apartment house called the Topeka Arms?

RALPH:

Whereabouts?

FRANK:

Sixth and Olympic.

RALPH:

Where's that?

FRANK:

In LA.

RALPH:

Can't you get nothin' straight? I ain't never been here before.

FRANK:

Uh-huh.

RALPH:

Now how about givin' me an answer -- why the roust?

JOE:

Come on, let's go.

RALPH:

What for?

JOE:

We'll show you the sights.

RALPH:

For instance?

JOE:

City Hall.

(END SCENE FOUR)

JOE:

Frank and I took the suspect into custody for further questioning. 12:16 PM we ran the name Ralph Portlong through R&I. They had nothing on him. We put out an APB with his description stating that he was in our custody. The bulletin requested any information about the suspect and was marked attention Chicago PD and Cleveland Police Department. 2:18 PM we again interviewed Portlong. He insisted he had not arrived in Los Angeles until six o'clock the previous evening and refused to say anything more. 4:06 PM we received replies to our APB on Portlong. Chicago reported two convictions for Grand Theft auto and Cleveland reported one conviction for Burglary second degree. We telephoned Miss Dunbetter and arranged for her to attend a special show-up at the Main Jail. 6:17 PM the show-up was completed and Frank and I took the victim back to our office.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS...STEPS IN...CLOSE DOOR

FRANK:

You're absolutely sure it isn't the same man?

MARTHA:

My goodness gracious, I ought to know.

FRANK:

Yes, ma'am.

MARTHA: I don't see how you could have made such a mistake.

JOE:

He fits your description -- even the scar.

MARTHA:

But I told you it was a ziggedy-zag.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

MARTHA:

This man's scar is entirely different.

JOE:

Oh.

MARTHA:

And his hair is wrong too.

JOE:

Is that so?

MARTHA:

The other man had some grey in it. Right across here.

JOE:

I thought you said he was fairly young.

MARTHA:

A body doesn't have to be old to get grey. Why, I've been grey ever since I had my appendix out -- and I was only thirty-four.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am. We'll have you taken home now.

MARTHA:

It really is a shame.

JOE:

Ma'am?

MARTHA:

That you arrested that poor fellow. Tsk, tsk, tsk... when he hasn't done anything...

SOUND:

TELEPHONE RINGS...COUPLE OF STEPS...PICK UP PHONE.

JOE:

Burglary, Friday..... Yeah?....... Yeah, that's right...Oh? When did you get it?......I see....No, not yet....Sure. Will you notify 'em?...... Okay...

SOUND:

HANGS UP PHONE

JOE:

I guess we don't need to feel too sorry for Portlong.

FRANK:

What do you mean, Joe?

JOE:

Another answer on our APB.

FRANK:

Oh?

JOE:

You were right, Miss Dunbetter. He couldn't have been your burglar.

MARTHA:

I told you, didn't I?

JOE:

He was in Needles yesterday afternoon. Hitched a ride.

FRANK:

Yeah?

JOE:

Slugged the driver.

(END SCENE 5)

JOE:

Ralph Portlong was held pending arrival of authorities from Needles. The investigation of the apartment house burglary continued. Two more suspects were brought in for questioning. Both men succeeded in establishing alibis for the time of the crime. Monday, May 23rd, 1:48 PM. Frank and I were on our way back to the office from lunch.

SOUND:

STEPS ALONG CORRIDOR

FRANK:

How was your pie?

JOE:

Okay.

FRANK:

Just okay?

JOE:

It was all right.

FRANK:

Lemon meringue, uh?

JOE:

Yeah.

FRANK:

Should-a had apple.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

FRANK:

I told you, Joe, stick with apple. You can't go wrong.

JOE:

The lemon was fine.

FRANK:

You didn't finish it.

JOE:

I was full.

FRANK:

Sure. Well, someday you'll learn.

JOE:

Learn what?

FRANK:

Apple pie's always safe. You can't louse it up. Even a bad cook.

JOE:

I get a little tired of it once in a while, that's all.

FRANK: No reason you should. You can switch it around so many different ways.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

FRANK:

Cheese, a la mode, hot sauce. No reason to get tired of apple, Joe.

JOE:

Sure.

SOUND:

OPEN DOOR...SQUADROOM B.G.

VOICE:

(OFF) Hey, Joe.

JOE:

Yeah?

SOUND:

STEPS FADE IN

VOICE:

Call for you, while you were out.

JOE:

Oh?

VOICE:

She wants you to call back. Here's the number.

SOUND:

JOE TAKES SLIP OF PAPER

JOE:

Thanks.

VOICE:

(FADING) Sure.

JOE:

(READING) Hmm. Bessie Maxon.

FRANK:

Who's she?

JOE:

I dunno.

SOUND:

PICK UP PHONE...DIAL FOR OUTSIDE LINE...THEN DIAL NUMBER

BEAT

JOE:

Mrs. Maxon?....This is the Police Department, Sergeant Friday....Yes, that's right....Yes, we were the ones who...Yes, Ma'am.....I see......Yes, I guess we can, is something wrong?...Oh......You sure of that?....All right, right away.....Thanks for calling...bye.

SOUND:

HANG UP PRONE

JOE:

Miss Dunbetter's sister. She just got back from Oxnard.

FRANK:

Yeah?

JOE:

Says it never happened.

FRANK:

Huh?

JOE:

The burglary. Says her sister made it up.

(END SCENE 6)

JOE:

Frank and I drove out to the Topeka Arms and went up to Apartment No. 8. It was 2:17 when we got there.

SOUND:

COUPLE OF STEPS...THEN KNOCK ON DOOR...BEAT....REPEAT KNOCK

FRANK:

Somebody's comin'.

JOE:

Yeah.

SOUND:

DOOR IS OPENED

BESSIE:

(SHE'S EIGHTY BUT NO FEET IN THE GRAVE) Well, what is it?

JOE:

Mrs. Maxon?

BESSIE:

That's right, that's right.

JOE:

My name's Friday. I just spoke to you over the phone.

BESSIE:

Oh, yes, yes, of course.

JOE:

This is my partner Frank Smith.

BESSIE:

Oh, how do you do. Please come inside.

FRANK:

Yes, ma'am.

SOUND:

THEY ENTER...CLOSE DOOR BEHIND THEM

BESSIE:

I just don't know what to say. I suppose it is all my fault for going out of town. I never should have left Martha alone. I might have known she'd be up to something.

FRANK:

Are you absolutely sure about this, Mrs. Maxon?

BESSIE:

About what, about what?

FRANK:

That there wasn't any burglary?

BESSIE:

Huh. Never in a million years.

JOE:

Your sister gave us all the details.

BESSIE:

Play-acting, that's all it was, play-acting. She's done it all her life.

JOE:

I see.

FRANK:

You mean Miss Dunbetter isn't -- uh --

BESSIE:

My sister is as sane as you are, if that's what you're driving at.

JOE:

Then why did she tell us that story?

BESSIE:

I haven't the vaguest notion. She simply won't give me any explanation.

JOE:

Did she tell you about the burglary?

BESSIE:

Certainly not. Certainly not. She knows better than to hand me any of her cock-and-bull stories. I can see right through them.

JOE:

Who did tell you about it?

BESSIE:

When I got home this morning everybody in the building was discussing it. The news was in all the papers. Mrs. Parker saved the clippings for me.

JOE:

Uh-huh. Well, just what is it that makes you so sure your sister was lying?

BESSIE:

In the first place Martha never had three hundred dollars in her whole life.

JOE: I see.

BESSIE: And in the second place, if the story is true why won't she face me? Why is she hiding?

JOE:

Hiding?

BESSIE:

The minute I told her I was going to call you, she locked herself in the bathroom.

JOE:

Oh.

BESSIE:

She's been there for two hours now. She simply refuses to come out.

JOE:

Well, we want to talk to her if we can.

BESSIE:

I'll try again. (FADING) The fact that you're here may have some influence.

FRANK:

Think we've been gettin' a run-around, Joe?

JOE:

Sounds that way.

FRANK:

Yeah.

SOUND:

OFF....POUNDING ON DOOR...REPEAT UNDER SPEECH AT APPROPRIATE INTERVALS

BESSIE:

(OFF) Martha! Martha, you come out of there this instant. (BEAT) Martha Dunbetter, do you hear me? (BEAT) The policemen want to talk to you. (BEAT) Now you come out!!! The police are here!!!

MARTHA:

(OFF THROUGH DOOR) I won't! I won't ever come out!

BESSIE:

I never heard of such childishness!!

BEAT

BESSIE:

(FADING ON A LITTLE) You see, I'm not able to do a thing with her.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am.

BESSIE:

(STILL OFF SOME) Maybe if you speak to her she'll come to her senses.

JOE:

Okay.

BESSIE:

(FADING ON) My own sister, carrying on like this. I don't know how I'll ever be able to hold my head up again. It's scandalous!

BEAT

SOUND:

KNOCK ON DOOR

JOE:

Miss Dunbetter....This is Sergeant Friday, Miss Dunbetter...Will you please come out so we can talk to you.....? (BEAT) Miss Dunbetter!

BEAT

SOUND:

DOOR IS UNLOCKED...OPENED SLOWLY

BESSIE:

Well, it's about time! What ever were you thinking of Martha? What got into you??

MARTHA:

I am not speaking to you, Bessie.

JOE: Let's go in the other room. Be easier to talk there.

MARTHA:

Yes, sir.

BESSIE:

Not speaking to me, uh? Well, two can play at that game. And I assure you, I won't be the one who suffers.

JOE:

Do you want to sit down?

SOUND:

THEY SIT

BEAT

JOE:

All right, Miss Dunbetter, can we clear this thing up now? Your sister says there wasn't any burglary.

MARTHA:

And just how would she know? She wasn't here, was she?

BESSIE:

I know because I know you.

MARTHA:

Huh.

BESSIE:

And I know you never had three hundred dollars to your name.

MARTHA:

I did too.

BESSIE:

Where'd you get it, where'd you get it?

MARTHA:

It's none of your business.

JOE:

How about it, Miss Dunbetter, did you have three hundred dollars?

BEAT

JOE:

Well?

MARTHA:

I never said it was exactly three hundred -- not to the penny.

BESSIE:

Three dollars would be more like it.

MARTHA:

There happen to be a few things you don't know about ... including my savings.

BESSIE:

A likely story. You never saved a penny in your life.

MARTHA:

What about my dime bank?

BESSIE:

I shook it just the other day.

MARTHA:

I'll thank you to keep your hands off my property.

BESSIE:

Savings indeed. If I didn't pay most of the expenses around here you'd starve to death.

MARTHA:

I managed quite well before you moved in on me, Bessie, and I was perfectly happy living alone. As a matter of fact, I preferred that arrangement.

BESSIE:

Maybe you'd like to try it again.

MARTHA:

Maybe I would. I'm sure I'd be money ahead.

BESSIE:

Ha!

MARTHA:

Don't you 'ha', me, Bessie Maxon. You ought to see the way she eats. Gobble, gobble, gobble. She shovels it down.

BESSIE: Stuff and nonsense. I don't have any more appetite than a bird.

MARTHA:

Birds don't nip the cooking sherry.

BESSIE:

Martha Dunbetter! How can you say such a thing?

MARTHA:

Because I know it's true. I marked the bottle.

BESSIE:

Well, whatever I do, I don't fib to the police like some people I could name.

BEAT

JOE:

Well, Miss Dunbetter?

MARTHA:

I may have exaggerated a speck.

JOE:

Uh-huh.

MARTHA:

I didn't mean to do any harm.

JOE:

Did you know it's against the law to file a false police report?

MARTHA:

Against the law?

BESSIE:

There, you see! You're going to jail. I knew it would happen. I knew that sooner or later you'd disgrace us all.

JOE: Why'd you do it?

BEAT

JOE:

You must have had a reason.

MARTHA:

I won't tell you. Not in front of her I won't.

JOE:

Oh. Would you mind waiting in the other room for a couple of minutes, Mrs. Maxon?

BESSIE:

I most certainly would.

JOE:

We'd appreciate it, Ma'am.

SOUND:

SHE GETS UP

BESSIE:

(FADING) Oh, very well. Very well. You'd think I was the criminal around here.

BEAT

SOUND:

DOOR SLAMS OFF

BEAT

JOE:

All right, Miss Dunbetter. Go ahead.

MARTHA:

It's very difficult to explain.

JOE:

Uh huh.

MARTHA:

You see it was all on account of her -- Bessie.

JOE:

Go on.

MARTHA:

It started when we were little girls. Just because she was older she was always lording it over me. Mama and Daddy always gave her everything first. Hand-me-downs. That's all I got. Bessie's hand-me-downs.

JOE:

(GRUNTS)

MARTHA:

Then when we grew up I couldn't push myself very much. She was just the opposite, the belle of the ball. She had her pick of all the young gentlemen in town. The only time they'd take me out was when Bessie was busy. And don't think she didn't let me know that I was second choice. The only reason she married Horace was because he took a fancy to me. Well, I had my pride, too. I wouldn't settle for her left-overs. That's why I stayed single.

JOE:

I see.

MARTHA:

The least she could have done was name one of her little girls after me. After all, I am her only sister.

FRANK:

You still haven't told us why you reported the burglary, Miss Dunbetter.

MARTHA:

I am telling you.

FRANK:

Yes, ma'am.

MARTHA: It was on account of her birthday. That was the last straw. She hasn't talked about anything else for months and months. Just because she's eighty years old you'd think she was the Queen of Rumania. Her picture in the paper -- people making a fuss about her. Well, I made up my mind that for once in my life someone was going to make a fuss about me.

JOE:

(GRUNTS)

MARTHA:

And to tell you the truth, I'm not a bit sorry I did it. I mean, I guess I should be sorry but I'm not. I really enjoyed myself. All those questions you asked me...like I was somebody. And my name was in the newspapers, too. First time it ever happened. It's kind of strange when you think about it. To live 79 years without ever seeing your name in print. But that wasn't the best part.

JOE:

Ma'am?

MARTHA:

The best part was Bessie not being able to horn in and take all the credit. Oh I knew you'd find me out sooner or later, but I didn't care. I sure had the laugh on her. All the time she was in Oxnard being partied I was having a little party of my own.

JOE:

You know you didn't need to put us through all this, Miss Dunbetter. You're almost eighty yourself.

MARTHA:

It's over a year away. When you're my age, you can't be sure of anything.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am.

MARTHA:

Besides, even when I'm eighty Bessie'll still be ahead.

JOE:

Ma'am?

MARTHA:

She'll be going on ninety.

MUSIC:

SIGNATURE

FENN:

(EASILY) The story you have just heard is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

GIBNEY:

On May 26th, a hearing was held in the office of Perry Thomas, City Attorney. In a moment, the results of that hearing.

FENN:

[Now, here is our star, Jack Webb.]

CLOSING COMMERCIAL

WEBB:

[Thank you, George Fenneman.] Put a smile in your smoking. Buy Chesterfield. It's the best cigarette ever made for my money. Smooth - Satisfying - Mild and Mellow. Believe me- In the whole wide world, no cigarette satisfies like Chesterfield.

MUSIC: [SIGNATURE]

GIBNEY:

Due to the advanced age of Miss Martha Dunbetter and because of her assurances that she would never repeat her actions, no charges were filed against her.

FENN:

[Better schools build better communities. Join and work with your fellow citizens who are actively seeking to improve educational conditions.]

MUSIC:

THEME

MUSIC:

THEME UNDER

GIBNEY:

You have just heard Dragnet -- a series of authentic cases from official files. Technical advice comes from the Office Of Chief of Police, W. H. Parker, Los Angeles Police Department. Technical advisors: Captain Jack Donohoe, Sgt. Marty Wynn, Sgt. Vance Brasher. Heard tonight were: Ben Alexander, [Virginia Gregg, Jack Kruschen, Helen Kleeb.] Script by Frank Burt....Music by Walter Schumann...Hal Gibney speaking....

MUSIC:

THEME UNDER. ... CONTINUES

FENN:

Watch an entirely different Dragnet case history each week on your local NBC Television Station. Please check your newspapers for the day and time. (BEAT) Chesterfield has brought you Dragnet, transcribed, from Los Angeles.

HITCH HIKE .... L&M FILTERS

JINGLE:

THIS IS IT - L & M FILTERS
IT STANDS OUT - FROM ALL THE REST
MIRACLE TIP - MUCH MORE FLAVOR
L & M'S GOT EVERYTHING... IT'S THE BEST.

ANNCR:

Yes, L & M'S got everything. The miracle tip is white -- pure white to give you the purest and best filter. And you get a rich, good tasting, fully satisfying smoke from L & M's highest quality tobaccos. Buy L & M- America's best filter tip cigarette. It's sweeping the country.

Cross Plug

ANNCR:

One man stands between death and 10 people on [TV's new dramatic program] Mr. Citizen next week. See Edward Binns star in the true story "Terror on Jack Rabbit Hill". Check your local TV listings for Mr. Citizen.

FENN:

Hear Dragnet next week, same time same station.

MUSIC:

SIGNATURE

ANNCR:

[Lux Radio Theatre presents Barry Sullivan in "Rope of Sand" tonight on the NBC radio network.]

MUSIC:

[NBC CHIMES]