Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
Show: The Thelma Ibsen Matter
Date: Jan 09 1953

Anncr:

From Hollywood, it's time now for...

SFX:

TELEPHONE RINGS ONCE, THEN PICKED UP

Dollar:

(as if answering phone) Johnny Dollar...

DeFranco:

(on phone) My name is DeFranco, Mister Dollar, I'm with the claims division of Eastern Life and Trust.

Dollar:

What can I do for you, Mister DeFranco?

DeFranco:

Help me pay off a claim, I hope!

Dollar:

Well! That's a new wrinkle!

DeFranco:

Yeah, one of our new policy holders passed away last month, and we can't seem to locate his beneficiary.

Dollar:

Well, maybe he doesn't want the money.

DeFranco:

It's a SHE. Everybody wants money, ESPECIALLY insurance money! Would you like to take a whack at it?

Dollar:

What FLOOR are you on, Mister DeFranco?

DeFranco:

Forth. 418. Just after you get off the elevator, turn to your left.

Dollar:

Be there in an hour.

MFX:

THEME MUSIC UP THEN UNDER

Anncr:

Now, the adventures of the man with the action-packed expense account. America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator...

Dollar:

Yours truly, Johnny Dollar.

MFX:

THEME BACK UP, HOLD THEN FADE OUT QUICKLY

Dollar:

(as if dictating) Expense account submitted by special investigator Johnny Dollar. To claims office, Eastern Life and Trust Company, this city. The following is an accounting of expenditures during my investigation of the (slight pause) Thelma Ibsen Matter.

MFX:

SHORT INTERLUDE

Dollar:

(still dictating) Expense account, item one: fifteen cents, bus fare from my apartment to Milton DeFranco's office, where we got right down to business.

DeFranco:

The deceased was a man named John Linden. He made his living selling papers in front of the Metropolitan Building.

Dollar:

Oh! On 3rd Street?

DeFranco:

Yes. Didja ever see him?

Dollar:

(thinking) Yeah, I guess I have. Somehow, you never think of someone like that leaving insurance money.

DeFranco:

(agreeing) No, you don't. But he took out two policies, November 5, 1940. Both of them $500 Life. (pause) So he has an estate of $1000 that we have to give to a person named Thelma Ibsen.

Dollar:

Is that a daughter, or something?

DeFranco:

No. No relation at all. Just someone who stopped and talked to him one day.

Dollar:

(chuckles) He musta had quite a line!

DeFranco:

Well, you'd think so, but I doubt it. She was only 10 years old at the time.

Dollar:

(a little surprised) Oh!

DeFranco:

I got all this from the agent who wrote up the policy. He used to buy his papers from old John. One day he told the agent he wanted to take out some life insurance so he could do something nice for a little girl he'd met that afternoon. And that's it.

Dollar:

Hmmm, quite a profitable meeting for her, huh?

DeFranco:

Yeah...of course a thousand dollars isn't a lot of money these days. But from HIM, it's a lot.

Dollar:

Yeah, I see.

DeFranco:

Thelma Ibsen must be in her early twenties by now. I'd like to see her face when she gets that insurance check and finds out who it's from and why. (pause) Might prove something about something.

Dollar:

Yeah, it could. Or maybe she isn't doing nice things for people anymore.

DeFranco:

Well, let's hope she is. I keep thinking about that old man out there hustling papers everyday to make his dollar fifty-two in premiums every week, it gets me somehow. (pause) He only saw her that one day in his life.

MFX:

TRANSITION

Dollar:

(again narrating) The local address for Thelma Ibsen was 213 Bainbridge. From neighbors I learned that Thelma's parents had been killed in an automobile accident in 1945. She'd moved across town to live with an aunt. A Mrs. Mary Seely. Mrs. Seely died in 1950. Again, Thelma had moved. Where? Nobody seemed to know. But they DID know where she had been working at the time. One of the girls there was brought into the manager's office.

Woman:

Yes. she quit without notice a couple of years ago. She just didn't come back.

Dollar:

Were you a friend of hers?

Woman:

Yes. (pause) We were good friends. Used to have lunch together every day. We started here together, too.

Dollar:

I see. Have you heard from her?

Woman:

Huh uh....no.

Dollar:

Any idea where she might have gone?

Woman:

(pause as if thinking) New York, I think. It's the closest place to go, isn't it?

Dollar:

Funny she didn't write anybody, or say anything when she left. Don't you think?

Woman:

Yes (pause) But Thelma was like that.

Dollar:

Like what?

Woman:

Well, don't misunderstand me, she was a real sweet girl, but there was something you could tell about her right away when you met her. She had plans of her own, and she just (pause) kept them to herself. Don't suppose something has happened to her?

Dollar:

(softly) I'm just trying to locate her. Did she ever talk about going to New York?

Woman:

No.

Dollar:

Well, what DID she talk about?

Woman:

(haltingly) Oh....about meeting someone...and getting married.

Dollar:

Was she going with anyone when she disappeared?

Woman:

Oh, a couple people around the office.

Dollar:

Are they still around?

Woman:

I think so. (pause) Are you gonna talk to them?

Dollar:

I'd like to.

Woman:

They haven't heard from here either. No one has. She just plain left, bag and baggage.

MFX:

INTERLUDE

Dollar:

(again narrating) At the apartment hotel where she had been living since her aunt's death, I learned that Thelma Ibsen had suddenly checked out with all of her belongings around Christmas, 1950. No forwarding address. The hospital, jail and morgue records for the previous two years were covered, and nothing came up. A high school annual provided a fairly good picture of a tall, smiling girl with a pleasant face, looking out from under a miter cap. The Motor Vehicle Bureau recorded a driver's license issued in her name. A right thumb and forefinger print came with it. The picture, the prints, and all available information went into a file. Thelma Ibsen became a missing person.

MFX:

STING UP THEN FADE

Dollar:

Two days later the people at her office were re-questioned. And then one of them recalled a man she had been seen with just before her disappearance. (pause) (then as dictating again) Expense account, item two: $15, transportation and incidentals, Hartford to New York. For the purpose of locating a Mister Floyd Turnbull for possible information concerning Thelma Ibsen's whereabouts. I made a list of the Floyd Turnbulls in the city directory, and set out to interview each one. The right man happened to be number five on my list.

SFX:

DOOR CLOSING

Floyd:

Yes, of course, I know Thelma Ibsen, Mister Dollar. (a bit surprised) You say you're from an insurance company?

Dollar:

That's right, Mister Turnbull. Can you tell me where she is right now?

Floyd:

(regretfully) I'm afraid I can't. Ahhh...sit down, Mister Dollar. sit down.

Dollar:

Thanks. (pause) Understand you knew her in Hartford?

Floyd:

That's right, I did. She came here to New York with me.

Dollar:

(intrigued) Oh?

Floyd:

Let me assure you, there was nothing improper about it. I met Thelma when she was working at one of the offices I do business with there. And when I suggested she drive to New York with me, I did it with the understanding that we were to be married here.

Dollar:

I see

Floyd:

(regretfully) No one could have been more surprised than I when she disappeared.

Dollar:

You mean here, in New York?

Floyd:

Yes.

Dollar:

Well, when was this?

Floyd:

It was Christmas Eve of 1950. Thelma was staying with my sister, Edna, in Westchester. I picked her up about six in the evening to go to a party. We stopped for gasoline somewhere between here and Long Island. I left the car for a moment, and when I came back, she was gone.

Dollar:

And you haven't seen her since?

Floyd:

And I haven't seen her since.

Dollar:

Well, did she leave a note in the car, or a message of some kind?

Floyd:

Nothing. Not a word.

Dollar:

And she hasn't gotten in touch with you at all?

Floyd:

No.

Dollar:

She's never written?

Floyd:

Never.

Dollar:

(long pause before speaking, then puzzled) I can't quite get with this! You're going to be married, and she disappeared in a filling station on Christmas Eve! (pause) Did you argue or something?

Floyd:

(fondly) No (pause) I don't think I ever would have argued with Thelma. (pause then slowly) She was kind...and sweet...and gentle. And ALL things to me. (pause then more business-like) Your appearance here and these questions bring back the memory very strongly.

Dollar:

How long had you known her before you decided to get married?

Floyd:

About three weeks.

Dollar:

Do you have any idea why she walked away?

Floyd:

Yes, but I doubt if it's of any practical value to you.

Dollar:

Well, any information I can get would be very helpful in locating her, Mister Turnbull.

Floyd:

All right then, I think she was frightened.

Dollar:

Of what?

Floyd:

Of LIFE, Mister Dollar! Not people or circumstance, but life.

Dollar:

You say that with a lot of conviction.

Floyd:

Yes. Thelma had always been......well.... a poor girl. She worked instead of going to college. She lived with a rather dowdy aunt who died just before I met her. Her parents had been killed in an accident just a few years before. I think I offered her happiness, which she always longed for. But she simply wasn't mature enough or adjusted well enough to accept it. But this is of no value, is it?

Dollar:

Well....it might be. (pause) Did you know of any ambitions she had? Maybe she wanted to go on the stage....

Floyd:

(interrupting) No, she simply wanted to be my wife and live here. (pause) Oh, I can see what you're thinking. I'm old enough to be her father, but that's NOT the reason she walked away from that car. Believe me, Mister Dollar, unless I am TERRIBLY mistaken, that girl was very much in love with me, and wanted to marry me.

Dollar:

Tell me, (pause) Have you tried to find her?

Floyd:

No, I have not. I waited around the filling station that night, hoping she'd return. But I didn't report the matter to the police. I intended to hire private detectives to locate her. But I gave that up, too.

Dollar:

(a bit puzzled) Well I don't understand, if you loved her...

Floyd:

Well, would THIS make it understandable, Mister Dollar? Thelma was a rational, normal human being when I left her in that car. No one forced her away from it or me. The man at the station said she merely stepped out, and disappeared down the street. She left of her own free will, for her own reasons.

Dollar:

Yeah, I think I can see your point.

Floyd:

Thank you, Mister Dollar. (pause) I've hoped that one day she'd appear at my door.....contact me....come to me. But she hasn't. (pause then a bit more brightly) Is there any way I can help you more concretely?

Dollar:

Well, if you could tell me the exact location of that filling station.

Floyd:

I believe I can do that. But why?

Dollar:

Last place she was seen alive.

Floyd:

(depressed) Oh........that word 'alive'...

Dollar:

Just a word, Mister Turnbull. Tell me, do you suppose she had any money when she left?

Floyd:

Why do you ask?

Dollar:

Well, she woulda had to have gone to work, if she didn't.

Floyd:

I see (pause) Yes she had money. Quite a bit.

Dollar:

How much?

Floyd:

Twenty three hundred dollars.

Dollar:

(surprised) OH?

Floyd:

She stole it from me, Mister Dollar. I left my wallet in my overcoat. She took it while I was gone. (pause) I would have given her all this, EVERYTHING. But she had to STEAL it from me. (getting emotional) She had to steal it like a common little thief! There's truly no fool like an old fool, is there, Mister Dollar?

MFX:

TRANSITION

Dollar:

(again narrating) When I left Turnbull, it struck me here was the SECOND elderly man in Thelma Ibsen's life. One had given her money when she wasn't around to receive, and from this one, she had taken money and didn't wait around to say 'thanks'.

MFX:

STING

Dollar:

Expense account, item three: $50.50. Car rental and incidentals involved in checking Floyd Turnbull's story. A major oil company owned and operated the filling station where Thelma Ibsen had been seen last. Their payroll records named three attendants on duty Christmas Eve, 1950. I located and interviewed all three. Enclosed, find statement of Earl Camden.

Earl:

(chewing gum with Brooklyn accent) Sure! Sure I remember that chick! (chuckles) Better lookin' than this picture, I'll tell you that! Well, anyways, she drove in with da old guy, see? He hadn't been away from da car more than 20 seconds when she was outta da car, and walkin' down da street as fast as she could go! When he came back and asked what happened to her, I told him. (pause) Well he went back and sat in his car maybe a couple o hours, just waitin' for her. I knew she was gone for good. I - I felt sorry for the old geezer! She shouldn'ta run out on him like that! Christmas Eve, and all?

MFX:

STING

Dollar:

(narrating again) Edna Turnbull Spencer, Westchester, verified her brother's story. Thelma Ibsen had left all of her clothes at the house. Mrs. Spencer had not heard a word from her since Christmas Eve of 1950. The matter went to the New York Police, Missing Persons Bureau. A check on the morgue and hospital records was unsuccessful. However, the police fingerprint files turned up an interesting lead:

Desk Sgt:

Misdemeanor, drunk, disturbing the peace. She was fined twenty- five bucks in night court, April 25, 1951.

Dollar:

What's the address?

Desk Sgt:

Ahhh...12-12 Yardley.

Dollar:

(as if he's writing) 12-12 Yardley. OK, got it.

MFX:

STING

Dollar:

At the address on Yardley, I learned that Thelma Ibsen had moved eight months before. Again, there was no forwarding address. The land lady turned out to be QUITE talkative, however.

Mrs. Prentiss:

I'm only too glad she moved from here, Mister Dollar! I'd like to help you find her, but I'm awfully glad she moved from here.

Dollar:

Well, why do you say that, Mrs. Prentiss?

Mrs. Prentiss:

Oh, my! Noisy parties all the time! I run a QUIET place for QUIET people you know!

Dollar:

Yes, yes, I'm sure but...

Mrs. Prentiss:

(interrupting) I thought she was the quiet type when she took the apartment, or I NEVER would have given it to her. She told me she was a secretary. That she worked downtown.
Dollar: Did she say where?

Mrs. Prentiss:

Oh, no! She didn't work! How could she? She was out EVERY night! And slept most of the day! And men used to come to see her.

Dollar:

Do you know any of them, Mrs. Prentiss?

Mrs. Prentiss:

Oh, no! Just men. All kinds, all sorts.

Dollar:

I see. Was she friendly with anybody in the building?

Mrs. Prentiss:

Oh, no.

Dollar:

Did she go with any particular man?

Mr. Prentiss:

I couldn't say. All I can tell you is I am GLAD she doesn't live here anymore! I'm AWFULLY glad!

MFX:

INTERLUDE

Dollar:

The more people I talked to, the more I learned about Thelma Ibsen, and the less I liked what I heard. (pause) I went back to the City Hall. It had occurred to me that hardly anyone is ever arrested for being drunk and disturbing the peace ALONE. I was right. The night court files revealed that Thelma Ibsen had been arrested with eight other people. I took down their names, and began to check them out. Number 6 down the line was a man named Unger who was in the hosiery business. Yes, he remembered Thelma Ibsen very well. NO, he hadn't seen her for six months. But he COULD tell me where she lived. (pause) He did, and I went there.

SFX:

MAN'S FOOTSTEPS

SFX:

HOTEL DESK BELL

Clerk:

Yes sir, may I help you?

Dollar:

I'm looking for Miss Thelma Ibsen.

Clerk:

(not really caring) Oh? (pause) I'll ring her room. Is she expecting you?

Dollar:

No. (pause) My name is Dollar. It's....ahh....it's a business matter.

Clerk:

Mister Dollar

Dollar:

That's right.

Clerk:

Just a moment. (clears throat) (off mic) I'm ringing. (long pause) (annoyed) Well! I don't understand that!

Dollar:

What?

Clerk:

(emphatic) She came in about a half hour ago. I KNOW she's up there!

Dollar:

Well, maybe she came out again.

Clerk:

No, I would have seen her. I've been at the desk all the time. If that isn't the strangest thing!

Dollar:

Maybe she's visiting one of the other apartments.

Clerk:

Perhaps. Would you like to leave a message, Mister Dollar?

Dollar:

Oh, would it be OK if I go up and camp on her doorstep? I've been looking for her for a long time now.

Clerk:

Of course!

MFX:

INTERLUDE

Dollar:

I took the elevator up to the 15th floor, and walked down the hall to Thelma Ibsen's apartment. The door was standing partially open. All the lights seemed to be on.

SFX:

KNOCK ON DOOR

Dollar:

(calling) Miss Ibsen? (long pause) (a bit louder) Miss Ibsen?

Thelma:

(off mic) (softly) Go back. (pause) (louder) Get away from this room.

Dollar:

What?

Thelma:

(ON mic) Get away, or I'll jump!

MFX:

STING

Dollar:

I've found Thelma Ibsen. Only she was standing on a ledge outside the window, all ready for a leap into eternity.

MFX:

LONGER STING

SFX:

STREET SOUNDS IN BG UNDER FOLLOWING

Thelma:

(sounding despondent) Don't come any closer!

Dollar:

I won't. Thelma?

Thelma:

What?

Dollar:

(VERY softly) You'd better come in now. (pause) You don't wanna do this.

Thelma:

(very calmly) I'm GOING to do it.

Dollar:

It's cold out there. Don't you think you should come inside?

Thelma:

I'm going to jump. (pause) Stay away now, don't try to grab me.

Dollar:

I'll do anything you say, Thelma.

Thelma:

I never saw you before. How do you know my name?

Dollar:

I've seen YOU.

Thelma:

No you haven't! (pause) I remember people. Watch it!

Dollar:

(apologetic) I was just gonna light a cigarette. Do you want one?

Thelma:

(sadly) No.

Dollar:

Can I have one?

Thelma:

All right. (pause) Where did you see me?

Dollar:

In a picture. In your high school annual. You went to high school in Hartford.

Thelma:

I don't know you. What's your name?

Dollar:

Johnny Dollar.

Thelma:

Are you from Hartford?

Dollar:

Yeah.

Thelma:

(a bit interested) Step over there. Let me see your face in the light. (pause) No. You AREN'T from Hartford! You're lying to me!

SFX:

DOOR OPENING

Clerk:

Mister Dollar, I'm....

Thelma:

GO AWAY! OR I'LL JUMP!

Clerk:

(gasps) OH MY! Why Miss Ibsen!!

Thelma:

(ordering) Go on! Get out of here!

Dollar:

Go ahead. (softly) Call the police.

Clerk:

Yes sir. Of course! Of course!

Thelma:

Why did you tell him to call the police? I don't care. (pause) They can't stop me. NOBODY can stop me.

Dollar:

Maybe they won't even try, Thelma.

Thelma:

Oh, I know they will. They'll talk to me just the way you're talking, and try to get close enough to grab me. (pause) I wanted somebody to call the police. I want them all down there, waiting for me to jump. When the crowd's big enough, I'll jump! Right down there! (determined) I'm not afraid to do it.

Dollar:

WHY do you want to jump, Thelma?

Thelma:

I have my reasons. Look! A couple of people down there who see me! They'd like to see me jump.

Dollar:

I don't think they'd like to see that at all, Thelma.

Thelma:

(insistent) Oh yes, they would! They might SAY they wouldn't, but they'll hang around, and if I DON'T jump, they'll be disappointed.

Dollar:

(emphatic) NOBODY wants you to jump, Thelma!

Thelma:

Oh, sure they do! Those people down there would love to see it happen. You'd like it, too.

Dollar:

If I wanted to see you jump, I'd be waiting on the street with those people. (pause) But I DON'T want to see you do that. And neither do they. I want you to LIVE, Thelma.

Thelma:

There's more people down there now. (pause) Whooo! They're getting the big lights up here now!

Dollar:

Thelma, look! If you're broke...if you need money...

Thelma:

(interrupting) Don't come any closer! I told you before!

Dollar:

I want to help you, Thelma!

Thelma:

(cynically) NOBODY wants to help me. Nobody's EVER wanted to help me.

Dollar:

You're wrong about that. Floyd Turnbull wanted to help you.

Thelma:

(hesitantly) Floyd......Turnbull? You met him?

Dollar:

Yes. (pause) And he's still very much in love with you.

Thelma:

After I stole money from him, and walked out on him?

Dollar:

The money meant nothing to him. He still loves you, Thelma.

Thelma:

(coldly) I don't love him. (pause) I never loved him.

Dollar:

He thought so.

Thelma:

He was just nice...

Dollar:

Why did you leave him that way?

Thelma:

(ashamed) Because I'm no good. Never have been, you know. I've never been any good to anybody.

Dollar:

Would you like to talk to Floyd?

Thelma:

No. I don't want to him....or anybody. (long pause) But after I jump, I want you to tell Floyd something

Dollar:

Sure

Thelma:

Tell him I meant to send the money back to him. I didn't think it was that much. Tell him I (long pause) never was any good at all. But I left him because of that.

Dollar:

All right.

Thelma:

You can tell him I loved him. He'd feel good, I think.

Dollar:

All right.

SFX:

DOOR OPENING

Thelma:

(shouting) GO BACK! I DON'T CARE WHO YOU ARE! GO BACK , OR I'LL JUMP RIGHT NOW! AND CLOSE THAT HALL DOOR! IF YOU WANT TO SEE ME JUMP, YOU'LL HAVE TO WATCH FROM THE STREET DOWN THER WITH THE OTHERS! CLOSE IT!

SFX:

DOOR QUIETLY CLOSING

Thelma:

(softly) Was he a policeman?

Dollar:

(sighs) I suppose so. I don't know.

Thelma:

He looked foolish.

Dollar:

We ALL look foolish, at one time or another. It passes.

Thelma:

Do I look foolish?

Dollar:

Yes, Thelma, you do. You're not going through with this. In the end, you'll come back into this room, and everybody down there will go home.

Thelma:

(denying) That isn't true! (thinking) You know, for the first time in my life, I know EXACTLY what I want to do. And how I want to do it. (pause) I'm going to jump.

Dollar:

From what I know about you, I thought you always knew pretty much what you wanted out of life.

Thelma:

I never knew anything. It's all botched up! I'll be happy one minute, and crying the next. Things kept happening, all the time. When Mama and Daddy died, I shoulda died, too. Then I wouldn't be here making all those people down there have bad dreams for weeks to come. I shoulda been with them when they were killed in that car accident. Well, it won't be long. I won't be tired anymore pretty soon.

Dollar:

(urgently) Thelma, wait!

Thelma:

(annoyed) Wait for WHAT? You say you've talked to people who've known me. You know what I was, and what I am. I didn't turn out the way they wanted me to, did I? I didn't even turn out the way I wanted to be. Look at me! Why should I wait?

Dollar:

One man I DIDN'T talk to had more faith in you than anybody else. He was an old man who sold newspapers in front of the Metropolitan Building. His name was John Linden. Old John. Thelma? Old John?

Thelma:

(spark of recollection) Old John....

Dollar:

You met him one day when you were a little girl. It meant a lot in his life. (pause) An awful lot. Do you remember Old John?

Thelma:

Yes. I went downtown after school to look in the windows. I had a nickel and I bought a paper from this old man. He talked to me. He said I was a very nice girl, and he asked me my name and where I lived.

Dollar:

What did you talk about, Thelma?

Thelma:

(slowly) About....school...and about...growing up. He told me I'd grow up some day and be a lovely woman.....He said "lovely woman'. He was very nice.

Dollar:

What else did you talk about?

Thelma:

School. He asked me what grade I was in. (thinking) Let's see... Guess I was in the.....fifth grade.....or maybe the sixth. It was such a long time ago.

Dollar:

(hopefully) But you remember it?

Thelma:

Sure, I remember it now. (pause) Where's John now?

Dollar:

He died a month ago, Thelma. He left you all his money.

Thelma:

(disbelief) What money? What money would that poor old man have?

Dollar:

Insurance money. Comes to a thousand dollars.

Thelma:

You're LYING!

Dollar:

No I'm not, Thelma. That's why I've been looking for you. It's my job to see that you get the money he left for you. He wanted you to have it.

Thelma:

But WHY? I didn't know him. Only that afternoon.

Dollar:

But he wanted to help you.

Thelma:

You're making all this up! It's ALL a lie!

Dollar:

No! No, look!

SFX:

PAPERS RUSTLING

MFX:

FADE STREET SOUNDS OUT

Thelma:

What?

Dollar:

These prove I'm from the insurance company. Here!

Thelma:

Throw them over.

Dollar:

All right.

SFX:

FOLDER OF PAPERS HITTING LEDGE

Dollar:

You see? He wanted you to have something.

Thelma:

(amazed) An old man! That poor old man! (pause then tearfully) I only stopped and talked to him! (cries)

MFX:

FLOURISH

Dollar:

(dictating) Expense account, item four: $3.50 - Martinis---I needed them. (pause) It was my first, and I hope my last experience with an intended suicide. The psychiatrist who examined and treated Thelma Ibsen believed that she'll make a complete recovery in time. They say it will take months to determine the exact cause of her breakdown. But as far as we're concerned, the case is closed. Claim filed. (sighs) (long pause) Expense account item five: same as item two, transportation back to Hartford. Total: $84.15. Yours, truly, (pause) Johnny Dollar.

MFX:

UP TO FINISH